What is Mexican ice cream and where to find it in Peoria?


PEORIA – If you’re looking for a different way to cool off during the summer heatwaves, try Mexican ice cream.

Peoria has two shops offering traditional recipes from the state of Michoacan in Mexico. Unique flavors like Mexican chocolate, with a hint of cinnamon, guava, tamarind, and mango, are available at Las Delicias, 837 W. Main St., and Palarte Mexican Ice Cream in the Peoria Metro Center.

“Right now I have 38 flavors for sale. I alternate flavors because I don’t have too much space, ”said Mary Mendez, co-owner of Las Delicias. “I have a lot of other flavors that I don’t have right now because of the space.”

The selection includes recipes based on cream and water.

“In the summer I try to have six to eight water-based flavors, while in the winter I only have two, my most popular… made from fresh mango and pineapple,” said said Yeni Rodriguez, owner of Palarte. “In winter, it’s more difficult to sell water-based.

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The reason the two stores offer some of the same flavors is that both owners are from the same city in Mexico.

“Mary and I all know each other. We were neighbors in Mexico. We’ve all known each other very well since we were little, ”Rodriguez said.

Both families are from the town of La Soledad. Rodriguez’s father started coming to central Illinois for seasonal work when he was in his 20s, and eventually several families from the same community settled in the Peoria area.

Yeni Rodriguez, owner of Palarte Mexican Ice Cream, is making ice cream in his storefront in Peoria on Monday, July 19, 2021. No added sugar and more fresh fruit differentiate Mexican ice cream from American ice cream, Rodriguez says.

Mexican ice cream can be sweet and spicy

There is a long tradition in Michoacan of ice cream and paletas (popsicles), which can be purchased from roadside vendors in towns across the state. Over the years, this tradition has spread across the world.

Unique flavors aren’t the only thing that makes Mexican ice cream different. It is generally made with less sugar. Rodriguez relies on a good quality cream and natural fruits to bring sweetness.

The paletas are lined up in the freezers at Las Delicias Helados y Paletas in Peoria on Friday July 16, 2021.

“I was born and raised in a small town, and I could see a lot of people with diabetes, so I focus more on healthy ice cream,” she said. “This is why I decided not to use sugar in my ice cream, and go with a better high end cream to make the ice cream. It makes it tasty but without having to add sugar.

Mexican ice cream is also unique in the use of spices alongside sweet flavors. Chili powder and hot sauce are common additions to ice cream, paletas, and fresh fruit drinks.

“I got a little bored one day and said, ‘I think I can make jalapeno cheese ice cream,” Rodriguez said. “And I went to the back, and I got it. It’s really good, it’s one of my bestsellers right now.

The flavors of Las Delicias Helados y Paletas include sweet fruits like mango and watermelon, and other popular flavors like cheese.

Both stores also offer snacks

Ice cream isn’t the only thing you can get at both stores. Fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juices and mixed fruit drinks are also available. Las Delicias sells elote, corn on the cob served with mayonnaise, butter and cheese sprinkled with chili powder. He also sells nachos dressed as the customer likes them. At Palarte, Rodriguez has the same philosophy when it comes to customer service.

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“I am open to whatever the customer wants. If they say ‘I want this and this and that’, I will, “she said.” If they come in and say ‘I want these churros with cueritos’, which are marinated pork rinds , “I want the ones with veg,” I’ll put everything together and just charge it. It might not be on the menu, but I can do it. ”

Yeni Rodriguez pours peach syrup over a bubble waffle at Palarte Mexican Ice Cream in Peoria on Monday, July 19, 2021.

Leslie Renken can be reached at (309) 370-5087 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.

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