6 locally made summertime sweets

Try these three ice creams and three frozen ice pops.
three ice cream cones and three popsicles
Photo by Nikki Hansen
Top left then clockwise: Pete's Pops, Gates & Brovi, No Coast Creamery, Calliope Ice cream, Chrysalis Pops, La Michoacana

The freezer aisle has nothing on these thoughtfully made, local frozen treats.

Popular Paletas
La Michoacana brings the traditional paletería experience to Madison. Its name celebrates the food traditions of western Mexico. Paleterías — popsicle shops and carts of western Mexico — are famous for bright-colored, fruit-filled treats. La Michoacana, which has two locations in Madison, offers dozens of flavors of neatly stacked paletas, all made in-house with a cream or milk base and ingredients ranging from cheesecake to mamey sapote, a tropical fruit. “It is incredible to see the amazement in children’s faces when they see the colors,” says Yazmin Valerio, manager of La Michoacana-West. We recommend first-timers try the mangonadas, a popular Mexican treat of frozen mango topped with tajín, limón and chamoy. 6712 Odana Road, 4512 E. Washington Ave., Coming soon: 6712 Frank Lloyd Wright Ave., Middleton, facebook.com/lamichoacana.us

From Milwaukee to Madison
Pete’s Pops started as a fun weekend side hustle for Pete Cooney in Milwaukee in 2013. Now he sells more than 80 flavors at three Milwaukee locations, with new flavors added each week. Half have a fruity base, the other half a creamy ice cream base. Pete’s Pops also offers bars with coconut or oat milks for a vegan treat. The top summer flavor is salted watermelon, made with lemongrass syrup, fresh watermelon and sea salt. A root beer float option is made with vanilla custard, an orange zest base and a swirl of root beer syrup. Pete’s Pops’ version of blue moon is coconut milk ice cream with a natural butterfly pea flower dye. Cooney is working to open a brick-and-mortar space in the Madison area next year. In the meantime, Pete’s Pops plans to sell from a cart around Capitol Square this summer. “We just want to be out and about, interacting and becoming truly a part of the community,” he says. petespops.net

For a Good Cause
Chrysalis Pops’ fruit-forward ice pops might bring back childhood memories of summer nights spent on the front porch with families and neighbors. Ingredients are sourced locally from community garden plots through a partnership with Madison Christian Community. Chrysalis Pops is a social enterprise of the Madison-based nonprofit Chrysalis, which helps people with mental health recovery. Prior to the pandemic, 18 Dane County residents helped grow produce, make the pops and sell them at area farmers’ markets and festivals. They plan to resume public sales events when it’s safe to do so. Chrysalis Pops can be found at Willy Street Co-op or ordered for delivery. The most popular summer flavor is strawberry lemon made with organic strawberries, water, organic cane sugar and organic lemon juice. “It’s not that we’re just popsicles or a delicious summery treat,” says Chrysalis Pops manager Ashley Staley. “You’re supporting people to attain their goals and support their wellness.” workwithchrysalis.org

Restaurant Treats at Home
There’s something magical about Gates & Brovi’s homemade ice cream. But the secret isn’t magic, says co-owner John Gadau: It’s a high butterfat content, or cream-to-milk ratio. He and co-owner Phillip Hurley worked with local dairy farms to develop the perfect ice cream base with pleasant mouthfeel and richness. This spring, the two bought the same ice cream maker that launched Ben & Jerry’s, allowing them to crank out 100 gallons in two hours. Four original restaurant flavors, including the ever-popular salted caramel, have grown into at least 10. The salted caramel is made with New Century Farm eggs and locally sourced cream. They launched a retail ice cream line, G&B Creamery, in May. “It’s all going to be Wisconsin,” Gadau says. “From the cookies to the brownies, any fruit we source will be local, [we’ll] break it down and process it at the peak.” 3502 Monroe St., gatesandbrovi.com

Made in the Midwest
Willie Justus thinks Wisconsin gets dismissed as a flyover state but has so much to offer in terms of dairy and produce, so he launched No Coast Creamery. Justus, originally from Illinois, creates hyper-seasonal pints using cream from Sassy Cow Creamery, local eggs and hand-selected ingredients from the Dane County Farmers Market or Willy Street Co-op. “Once fresh produce starts rolling around in the spring, every week there’s something new. I showcase what’s fresh and what’s of the moment,” Justus says. One-of-a-kind flavors include black raspberry chip with foraged berries and Wm. Chocolate. The small-batch ice cream frequently sells out, so the best way to ensure you snag a pint is to stay connected on social media. nocoastcreamery.com

By the Pintful
When landing on a name and concept for their ice cream venture, Staci Fritz (along with Nick Martin and Sally Fritz Melville) envisioned something fun, goofy and circus-y. “We always wanted to have the out-there flavors you can’t find anywhere else,” Fritz says. Calliope Ice Cream, which has a scoop shop located inside Garver Feed Mill, goes beyond the standard vanilla or chocolate. Fritz finds inspiration from unlikely sources, such as golden beets or sweet corn, which were used to create short-run, small-batch flavors. “We’re used to ice cream being very sweet, but at the base of it, it’s a blank canvas,” she says. Flavors like brandy Old-Fashioned, graham cracker and Mexican hot chocolate are staples, but in the summer it’s all about refreshing options like lemon lavender. Calliope started out of the Weary Traveler Free House basement but has since expanded to the Garver location. You can also find Calliope pints at retailers, including Ian’s Pizza. 3241 Garver Green, calliopeicecream.com

Hannah Wente builds community through her freelance and nonprofit work.

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