Paletas have gotten much attention in Miami over the years. The once-humble Mexican ice pop has been boozed up, given the gourmet treatment, and even mixed into margaritas.
Gilbert Arismendi, however, thought the paleta hadn't reached its full potential. The former software project manager and his partners kicked it up a notch when they created their own versions of the treat and opened Morelia Gourmet Paletas in Coral Gables.
"We do a s'mores version with the chocolate paleta," Arismendi says. "We use marshmallow cream, we torch it, and then we put graham crackers on top."
Another top seller is the cookies 'n' cream flavor, "because the kids love it... as soon as they see the cookie!"
For those seeking a more healthful alternative, there's a wide array of fruit-based options, including mango, kiwi, and strawberry, using the whole fruit and not just juices or purées. "We use natural ingredients," Arismendi says. "Like in the mango paleta, you can see the fibers of the fruit."
Those with an extra-sweet tooth can find paletas filled with Nutella or cream. The idea for these innovative treats was picked up in Brazil, where some of the partners took courses in the art of paleta-making. Morelia Gourmet Paletas offers combos such as passionfruit filled with condensed milk or fresh banana filled with Nutella.
Since opening October 14, 2016, the shop has seen a steady influx of regulars despite the inconvenient construction on Miracle Mile that has the whole sidewalk blocked off.
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“When we opened, we gave away paletas all day long for two days. We gave away like 2,500 paletas! The next Sunday was the best day ever: The same people who had them for free were willing to pay for them. That’s a big compliment.”
Everything is made on the premises, and Arismendi and his team are always experimenting with new flavors and tweaking traditional ones. "For the chocolate paleta, we use two different chocolates from Belgium and one from Brazil. That’s why the chocolate is so good."
The prices are good too: $3.50 for water-based paletas, $4 for cream-based, and $4.50 for filled varieties. You can also top them with extra goodies such as dark chocolate, white chocolate, and sprinkles.
Morelia Gourmet Paletas
76 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-456-1306; paletasmorelia.com. Monday through Friday noon to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to midnight.