Summertime Treats to Beat the Heat: Popsicles and Sundaes

Remember when we were all complaining about the cold? And now…it’s 100 degrees outside and even your hair follicles are sweating. This summer, the brain freeze is definitely worth it in order to taste these irresistible local frozen treats. Here are our favorite frozen treats to beat the heat in Utah: popsicles and ice cream parlor novelties.


Joy Pops: Latina-style mobile popsicle truck keeps it cool

Paletas are popsicles that originally hail from Mexico and have spread around the world—including to our little corner. They are made with fruit, cream and light sweeteners. The result is a refreshing, satisfyingly creamy and fruity taste perfect for hot summer days here in Salt Lake City. 

Joy Pops Paletas. Photo by Adam Finkle

Kalli Lebaron, the owner of Joy Pops, launched her gourmet “ice cream truck” style paletería when she was just 17 years old. Kalli met Valerie, the owner of Joy Nutrition Pops, in the Dominican Republic and was so inspired by her that she decided to apprentice with her to learn how to make genuine paletas from scratch. With the support of her family, she put together a business plan, found a retired ice cream truck and space in a commissary kitchen, and launched her business as she was wrapping up high school. 

What makes paletas unique?

“American ice pops are normally water-based and are flavored with artificial flavors, thickeners and sweeteners,” explains Kalli. “Mexican paletas are made with a whole fruit base, all real fruit and water. The cream-based ones are made with thick cream, milk and natural sugars. It is also not churned, so we are not incorporating air into the base. We end up with a dense texture where you can taste the quality and the care. And what always stands out to me is the texture.” They are almost like gelato in popsicle form.

Fruity Favorites:

  • Tropical—with strawberry, mango, pineapple and peach
  • Mango & Kiwi—made with fresh mangos and whole kiwis 
  • Watermelon—tastes like the sweetest fresh watermelon ever 
  • Mojito—limeade and fresh mint

Creamy Pops:

  •  Coconut—with fresh shredded coconut  
  • Cookies and Cream—with an ENTIRE cookie right at the top
  • Berry Cheesecake—with house-made cream cheese and berry jam
  • Coffee & Toffee—creamy coffee with chocolate-covered toffee

Ice Cream Parlor Treats

The Float

What It Is Not: A Milkshake

What It Is: A fizzy, creamy combination of ice cream or sherbet in a glass of soda (flavored or plain). The key here is acid phosphate or phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid contains a small amount of the mineral phosphorus, which, according to Coca-Cola’s “official” statement on the substance, “is found widely in nature and helps give our bodies energy. It is also a big component of bones and teeth.” So it’s fine, right? The point is the fizzy minerally, tart acid collides with creamy ice cream, resulting in yummy. Classic is, of course, the Root Beer Float (vanilla ice cream + root beer) but there are many, many variations. Like lime sherbet and 7-UP (a mainstay at ward picnics, substituting Shasta, of course.) 

Who Does it Best: Hire’s Big H, 425 S. 700 East, SLC,

The Sundae

What It Is Not: A boring scoop of vanilla ice cream

What It Is: Originally called the “Sunday,” the sundae’s name evolved confusingly from ice cream shops trying not to confuse customers who thought “the Sunday” was only available on, well, Sunday. Make sense? No. Nevertheless, this mountain of ice cream and toppings is alive and well here in Utah and there are plenty of options for turning ice cream into something way bigger. Bigger is better right?

Who Does it Best: Farr Better Ice Cream Shop, 274 21st St., Ogden,

We have more on the history of ice cream in Utah, and more summertime treats, here!

See more stories like this and all of our food and drink coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah. 

Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to

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