Thursday, July 30, 2015

La Vallesana's Paletas, A Tasty Frozen Treat To Beat the Heat

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 6:45 AM

Welcome to Sugar High, a series devoted solely to spotlighting the best ways to sate a sweet tooth in St. Louis. We'll sample the best the city has to offer at restaurants, bakeries and holes-in-the-wall, and provide some insight on how these confections are made along the way.

Pistachio and strawberry paletas. | Photos by Mabel Suen
  • Pistachio and strawberry paletas. | Photos by Mabel Suen

Before La Vallesana (2801 Cherokee Street; 314-776-4223) expanded into the full-service, multi-patio Mexican-food mecca it is today, it had humble beginnings as a simple frozen-treat stand. According to manager Marco Vargas, whose father owns the business, the restaurant originally opened in 2003 selling ice cream. The addition of tacos, tortas, burritos and more came in years following. To this day, La Vallesana still offers some of the desserts that started it all: paletas.

Located on Cherokee Street in south city.
  • Located on Cherokee Street in south city.

"To a lot of people, it's different," Vargas says. "It's all homemade. We use all fresh fruit and don't use preservatives."

The Latin American-style popsicles known for their utilization of fresh fruits come in two different varieties: water-based and milk-based. Family recipes scaled to proper proportions feature simple mixtures of milk or water with sugar as well as fruit or nut flavorings. Best sellers include pistachio, pecan, strawberry and spicy mango. Look for a dozen or more options on any given day out of a pool of nearly 50 options established over the years -- each for less than a few bucks bucks a pop.

More paletas in the cooler.
  • More paletas in the cooler.

In addition to paletas, La Vallesana also offers a selection of agua frescas and ice creams. Like the paletas in the next cooler over, look for sixteen or so flavors of ice cream in the dipping cabinets out of a total of around 50 rotating options. These, too, are a bit different than similar traditional American treats. The texture of the housemade ice creams is a bit denser and milkier, according to Vargas. Beat the heat by cooling down with any one of these refreshing sweets.

A selection of ice cream.
  • A selection of ice cream.

Previously on Sugar High: - Nourish by Hollyberry's Chocolate-Chip Cookie and Cold Mug of Milk - Clementine's Liege Waffle Sundaes - Gus' Pretzels' Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzels - Fitz's Berry Pomegranate Soda - Smalcakes' Wedding Cake Cupcake - Pastries of Denmark's Petit Fours - Lucky Buddha's Five-Spice Crème Brûlée - Amy's Corner Bakeshop's Scones - Vincent Van Doughnut's "Mini Vinnies" - Piccione Pastry's Sfogliatella Riccia - The Feasting Fox's Warm Apple Strudel - I Scream Cake's "I Scream Sammys" - LuciAnna's Pastries' Chocolate-Mousse Cheesecake - Spoon Baking Company's Spoon Cookie - Insomnia Cookies' S'mores Deluxe Cookie - Living Room's Peanut-Butter Chocolate-Chip Cookie - Stimulus Baking Company's Pad-Thai Cupcake - La Bonne Bouchée's Strawberry-Mousseline Cake - Pie Oh My's Pumpkin-Maple Pecan Pie - Annie Moons' Banana-Split Muffins - Cyrano's Carrot Cake - Whitebox Eatery's Cheese Pastry - Comet Coffee's Mousse Cakes - Whisk's Apple-Cinnamon "Pop Tartlets" - The London Tea Room's Blueberry-Lemon Cake - Corner 17's Fluffy Ice - The Fountain on Locust's "Banana Bourbon" Sundae - Vinnie's Pinwheel Baklava - Red Fox Baking & Catering's Lemon Tart - Sugarfire Smokehouse's Crack Pie - Russell on Macklind's Coconut Cake - The Kitchen Sink's Sweet Potato Fries - Giovanni's Kitchen's Panna Cotta Trio - Crepes Etc.'s Crepe Cake - Cafe Ventana's Beignets - Frida's Raspberry-Chocolate Avocado Mousse - India Palace's Gulab Jamun - Melt's "Violet Beauregarde" Waffle - Brevan's Patisserie's "Brendan" - Winslow's Home's Chocolate Cake with Espresso Meringue - La Patisserie Chouquette's Eclair - Black Bear Bakery's Raspberry Oat Bar - Gelateria's London Fog Gelato - 4 Seasons Bakery's German Cheesecake - Libertine's "Candy Bar" - Cleveland-Heath's Old Fashioned Cherry Pie - Schlafly Tap Room and Bottleworks' Sticky Toffee Pudding

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