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Paleta Party 

La Michoacana ice cream shops provide tasty summertime cooling

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The summer I spent in Morelia, Michoacán, I gained 10 pounds. Blame it on the paleta, my beloved after-school treat from the La Michoacána shops that tempted from nearly every block. I've never lost the taste for a rice pudding (arroz con leche) paleta or fresh strawberry Mexican ice cream on a hot summer afternoon.

Fortunately, Santa Rosa has its share of nevarias, with two of them across the street from each other in Roseland. Frozen Art's selection of 40 ice cream flavors reads like a directive from heaven: rose petal, cappuccino, maracuyá (passion fruit)—to name a few. Descended from Tocumbo, Michoacán—the ice cream capital of Mexico—this family-owned business of third-generation ice cream makers knows exactly how to capture the sweet spot. Owner Jorge Alcazar says that he was forced to change the name from La Real Michoacána to Frozen Art after being threatened with litigation by an ice cream shop owner in Sonoma. 500 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa. 19151 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma. 707.331.2899.

Colores on Dutton Avenue (the old Michoacán Ice Cream and Coffee sign still peeps through the front awning—another forced name change) serves yummy coconut-covered paletas for $2.50 and a magnificent strawberry cheesecake ice cream. 443 Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.526.6661.

If you're taking a drive down Highway 12, stop in at Michoacána Natural Ice Cream, which earns rave reviews from everyone who steps through the door. You can't go wrong with the chongo, pistachio or espresso with almonds. 18495 Hwy. 12, Sonoma. 707.938.1773.—Leilani Clark

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