South American paletas sell as fast as they can make them
Ashley Gleeson and David Clendenin, owners of Pressed, a Beacon Hill spot best known for its fresh juices, seem like unlikely candidates to be selling the South American popsicles known as paletas. But Gleeson, a New Hampshire native with a hospitality background, and Clendenin, who still works full-time as an anesthesiologist at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, have found that Bostonians have an insatiable appetite for the frozen fruity treats.
“I cannot make them fast enough. I am making, probably, 200 to 300 every single time I do it, and I probably do that about twice a week. There are so many types of flavor combinations, the opportunities are limitless,” says Gleeson. The couple first discovered the confections traveling through South America. She says, “They are a part of everyday life there.”
Gleeson spends a lot of time experimenting and adding flavors to the mix. “I just did plum and violet today and that one is really good. Another really popular one that we do is the spa pop, which is cucumber, lime, and mint. Then another favorite is pineapple habanero and that one is so great because you eat the popsicle, you know the paleta, and it’s so cold, and then all of a sudden your lips begin to tingle because that spice really surprises you.”
The paletas, which sell for $4 apiece, clock in at about 100 calories, according to Gleeson, which makes them a lighter alternative to other sugary summer treats. She explains what sets them apart from what you’ll find in the freezer section of a supermarket: “A paleta is more of a fresh fruit popsicle, so you are going to a have a lot more texture to them. You know, when I did the plum and violet, I literally cut [the plums] in half and then threw them into the blender, so you still get all the skin and all the good vitamins and nutrients.” Because fruit loses some of its sweetness when frozen, Gleeson will occasionally add a little honey or agave to the fruit blend. The only time cane sugar enters the mix is when making delicately flavored concentrated syrups, such as the violet or rose.
Just don’t get too attached to one particular flavor, says the entrepreneur. “Every time I make a batch and it gets sold, and then it’s time to think of something new. So there’s no set menu, it just continues to rotate throughout the summer.” Pressed, 120 Charles St., Boston, 857-350-3103, www.pressedboston.com