Chicago paletas: Razpachos offers 60 flavors, from avocado to fresa con crema, near Midway Airport

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Paletas are a summertime treat found all over the region, often in Mexican ice cream shops.

There are both milk and water-based versions, but there's so much more than just mango or strawberry.

A tiny shop on the city's Southwest Side produces more than 60 flavors, some completely unique, inspired by the owner's childhood in Mexico.

They are sweet reminders of just how good summer can taste.

Paletas come in many forms, but at Razpachos, on a busy stretch of South Pulaski Road not far from Midway, the owners have made it their mission to create memorable flavors.

"The quality of the fruit is probably the number one thing that makes really good quality paletas," said Eric Gutierrez, the Co-owner of Razpachos.

More than 40 flavors use milk; another two dozen rely on water, and they're made all day, every day, in the tiny kitchen in back. Not just the standard flavors, but head scratchers like avocado.

"We were taught how to think outside the box; the creaminess of it, the texture, you still get the flavor of that avocado. We also make a version with lime and salt," he said.

They sell a ton of parfaits called fresa con crema, which gave them an idea.

"The fresa con crema we decided to turn into a paleta. To give someone that amazing flavor with the sweet cream base, adding the tartness of the strawberry to that paleta makes it so good," said Gutierrez.

Another popular dessert that got transformed is the gazpacho. Inspired by childhood memories in Morelia, the capital city in Michoacán, it's mostly fruit and vegetables.

"Jicama, mango, pineapple, cucumber and watermelon all finely diced and then we drench it over the top with fresh-squeezed orange juice; add a little bit of spice, a little bit of lime and that's your gazpacho, and we decided to turn that into a paleta," he said.

They also make stuffed paletas, as in cheesecake surrounding icy guava, or a creamy-rich cajeta, a thick caramel. Refreshing strawberry gets Lechera, a sweetened condensed milk.

"So there's a technique that we use that started in Brazil. What I decided to do is I made a paleta made out of bananas, and then we decided to fill it with Nutella," said Gutierrez.

You'll no doubt suffer a case of choice paralysis when faced with so many tempting flavors. Best advice? Try something outside your comfort zone.

"We sell smiles," he said.

Now if you didn't want to make it all the way down to the Southwest Side, you can find these paletas in five locations in the city, under the umbrella name "Paleta Factory" but you have to order online. I'd highly recommend you come down to Pulaski and try the gazpacho flavor. It's fantastic.

The Pulaski store also sells fantastic tortas, the classic Mexican sandwich, made with fresh bread from Pilsen and homemade pork.

Razpachos
5611 S. Pulaski Rd.
773-570-7011
http://www.razpachos.com


They also run Paleta Factory with five locations in the city.
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