SAN FRANCISCO -- On the outside traditional paletas resemble the popsicles you might pick up at the supermarket. However, once you sink your teeth into a soft-textured, all-natural fruit paleta--you'll taste a big difference.
"A paleta is 100% fruit," explained Nancy Rosales, founder of the San Francisco-based co-op Pepito's Paletas. "It's just right from the farmers' market, right to the blender."
Unlike typical popsicles, this Mexican frozen treat is made from whole fruits--and that's it. The best way to enjoy a paleta is to eat it fresh from the popsicle mold.
Pepito's Paletas serves up the most authentic paletas in the Bay Area, inspired by classic family recipes using vegan ingredients.
"After working for corporate America, I was calling my mom crying," said Rosales. "I was like, what can I do to capture my roots that I miss so much? When I got into this business, I was like, I love it. I'm home."
Everything from the flavors offered to the name itself furthers the company's quest to keep Mexican traditions alive.
"I remember at the beginning when we were trying to come up with the names someone said, 'Don't put paleta, put popsicle,'" recalled Rosales. "I feel like it's so important for the word paleta to be there, so I can take them through the whole journey."
Each paleta is made with all-natural, locally sourced ingredients. Customers can order a variety of flavors, including Abuelita's Mexican Sweet Chocolate, 100% Tamarindo, Pepito's Cleanse, and more. Plus, the co-op can create any flavor combination you'd like to try.
"We can make any flavor you want if you have a custom flavor that takes you back home," added Rosales. "It's just the thought of knowing that it can take someone back to their country is priceless."
Pepito's Paletas offerings are never frozen for long periods of time. Each paleta is made today, to enjoy today.
"It melts in your mouth, it's softer, and it's just more enjoyable," described Rosales.
Rosales and her partners make and deliver fresh paletas through a co-op model, which Rosales hopes will cultivate women business leaders.
"Seeing her becoming the woman she is, it's very empowering for me," said Pepito's Paletas partner Kimberly Gray. "It's like, I need to step up."
"I was looking to see someone, Latina sister, doing big things," said Rosales. "And I was like, I have to be the example, I have to be in action."