When traveling in Mexico, you can’t miss the neon colors and exotic displays of fresh fruit that mark a La Michoacana ice cream stand. Purveyors of paletas, an intrinsically Mexican treat, La Michoacana shops catch your eye on every main street in every Mexican town from Baja in the west to Tulum in the east.
What’s a paleta, you ask? A super-natural, much healthier version of our American-style popsicles, paletas are all-natural frozen treats made from chopped up fresh fruit and fruit. Often cream is also added to lend a thicker, creamier, less icy texture. In Mexico, the city of Tocumbo in the state of Michoacán is ground zero for paletas, and its where the La Michoacana chain was founded, hence the ubiquitous name.
Now Sonoma County boasts its very own Michoacan-style ice cream shop, a rarity north of the border. La Michoacana all natural ice cream all-natural ice cream is located on Highway 12 north of the town of Sonoma; you can’t miss the bright colors and eye-catching exterior as you’re on your way to soak at the Sonoma Mission Inn or visit the wine country of Kenwood.
At a typical shop in Mexico, paletas come in a huge variety of flavors, often in fruit-only and cream versions of the same flavor. (In other words, you can have either just strawberry, or strawberry-and-cream.) Sonoma’s Michoacana is no different; on any given day there will be a wide variety of traditional fruit flavors, along with some more exotic California-inspired combos such as key lime with crushed graham cracker bits mixed in.
Like a Mexican paletería, Michoacana also serves cups of fresh fruit salad and freshly squeezed fruit juice and the juice-water combos known as Aguas Frescas.
Owner Teresita Carr, a native of Tocumbo, is a mainstay of the Sonoma community, and her vibrant personality infuses a friendly personality and welcoming atmosphere into this tiny, bare-bones shop.
If you’ve never tried a paleta on a visit to Mexico, now’s your chance. If you stop in at every La Michoacana stand you see whenever you’re surfing in Sayulita or climbing ruins in the Yucatan, now you can have your favorite exotic treat right here at home.