Localicious: It’s Hot Outside! Cool Down with an Exquisite Icy Treat

When summer temps soar, nothing cools like a frosty treat. Homemade fresh fruit popsicles are divine, and there are plenty of dine-out options too—some familiar, others more exotic. Sundaes steeped in gooey fudge, delectable Italian gelato, tropical ice bars…it’s all here. Even better, these delights can be found in parlors that produce them on-site with fresh ingredients. What’s your fancy? 

Good Ol’ Vanilla and Chocolate

On average, everyone in the U.S. eats 23 pounds of ice cream annually, the largest per capita consumption worldwide. Vanilla and chocolate consistently rank as the top two favorite flavors. Traditional American ice cream is made with a few simple ingredients—cream, sugar, egg yolks and a flavoring such as vanilla bean. As it freezes, the mixture is churned at high speed, a process which adds air and increases volume.

Shubert’s Ice Cream and Candy has been making and serving their ever-so-lickable scoops for almost 80 years. The family-owned business remains at the downtown Chico location founded by Leonard Shubert in 1938, and some of the original ice cream making equipment is still in use. Though flavors have been added over the years, Marketing and Events Coordinator Jayme Westbrook, a fourth generation descendent, says, “We pride ourselves on preserving our legacy. By sticking with the original recipes handed down over generations we ensure our customers are always getting the same product years later.”

Customers also look forward to seasonal favorites made with area produce like boysenberries, watermelon and pumpkin. “One thing we have always done is support other local businesses by buying local ingredients as much as possible,” Westbrook says.

To try:  Hot Fudge Sundae, Watermelon Sherbet (summer seasonal)

178 East 7th St, Chico
(530) 342-7163
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30am-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm

Artistic Delights

Gelato, also known as Italian ice cream, is a confection born of the Renaissance. As the story goes, artist Bernardo Buontalenti created the dessert in the 1500s as part of an extravaganza event hosted by the Medici family of Florence. Today, gelato differs from American ice cream in several respects. It is made with milk, rather than cream, which means the fat content is lower. Yet, because it’s churned at a slower speed, less air is added and the final product is actually denser.

At Sweetspot in Redding, the gelato display is a visual feast, rich with lush hues of mint green, dark mocha and blood orange. Owner Charmaine Yu notes, “We serve it at a few degrees above freezing so it does not freeze your tongue [as ice cream can]. The flavor comes through better.” For this reason, a small serving of gelato can be just as satisfying as a larger portion of ice cream.

Though Sweetspot’s presentation of delectables is nothing short of artistry, the shop is kid-friendly and full of fun. “We are in the business of creating happy memories, while providing a good product made from scratch to share with people we love,” says Yu. And asked which gelato flavor is most popular with her customers this summer, Yu doesn’t hesitate. “Unicorn Poop! Because it’s magical.”

To try: Unicorn Poop in a cone with sprinkles, Affogato (gelato with a shot of espresso)

1675 Hilltop Dr, Redding
(530) 226-8086
Hours: Mon-Thu 7am-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 8am-10pm, Sun closed

Summer on a Stick

Mexican paletas are frozen bars made from either a water or milk base, and traditionally sold from street carts or small shops called paleterias. Though shaped like the familiar popsicle, the paleta is much more substantial, often loaded with visible chunks (or even slices) of fruit. And the flavors are like a quick trip to a tropical clime—kiwi, guanabana, cactus, mango—some peppered with spices like chili and tamarind.   

La Flor de Michoacan Paleteria y Neveria opened its doors in Chico in 2012. The festive décor bursts with the bright candy colors of a just-cracked piñata. With more than 60 varieties of paletas and ice creams, longtime employee Gloria Granados says she often fields questions about unfamiliar flavors. “People love the mango-and-chamoy,” she says, explaining that chamoy is a fruit-based spicy Mexican candy sauce. Another favorite is avocado, a mild almost “buttery” flavor.

“And we make everything right here,” says Granados. “Everything is fresh, and we can combine whatever fruits, ice creams, and sauces a customer wants in a smoothie or milkshake.”

To try: Cajeta (goat milk caramel) or Sweet Potato ice cream, Mangonada (cup of mango with chili, chamoy, tamarind, and lime)

La Flor de Michoacan Paleteria y Neveria
1008 W Sacramento Ave, Chico
(530) 893-9999 • Hours: 11am-11pm daily and
1354 East Ave, Chico
(530) 774-2219 • Hours: noon-10pm daily

Localicious is a monthly column celebrating food in the North State. If you would like to suggest a food-related business or organization, email us at localicious@northstateparent.com.

Ashley Talmadge
About Ashley Talmadge

​Ashley Talmadge has always shared her home with a variety of companion animals. Currently her family includes two opinionated cats and two aquatic frogs. Her two young sons like to think of themselves as "cat mind readers."

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