The original popsicle everyone fell in love with in Berlin since 2012, Paletas continues rocking their iced-refreshments all over town today and seeing their growth from cart to store to distribution throughout other outlets as well has been seriously impressive! We first tried their cucumber-lemon version at a festival and instantly knew it wouldn’t be our last, it was just soooooo refreshing and tasty! Now with their own shop in Friedrichshain, we wanted to find out a little more from co-owner Denise Drenkelfort
Tell us about yourself and how Paletas was started?
Well first of all: we love popsicles!!!
In 2011 we traveled around Australia for six months and as it can get super hot there, we naturally ate a lot of popsicles.
In a small town we tried a homemade popsicle that was made out of only fresh oranges and we were completely blown away!
…And then we asked ourselves: why don’t we have this in Berlin??!
That’s how the idea started really: to produce natural popsicles completely without additives. We tried a lot of recipes and in spring 2012 we were ready to start Paletas Berlin.
We love your popsicles, (I’ll always remember how refreshing my first cucumber-lemon one was!) But in your words, what makes your popsicles different from what others might think of popsicles?
When people think about popsicles, the products from known industrial producers tend to come to their minds first. With our Paletas we want to offer an alternative that doesn’t have as much sugar, fat or unnecessary ingredients.
Transparency is very important for us: we only use natural ingredients of high quality, which is why you will never find more than 3-4 ingredients in our Paletas.
For example the Cucumber Lemon one is made out of salad cucumber, fresh lemon and a little bit of sugar. In our opinion you can taste how fresh it is and anything else that could be added in would be unnecessary
We’ve all made ice-lollies at home. What is your process to make them on a larger scale?
We actually started with small popsicle moulds in the freezer too, but by now we were able to grow our production facility that helps us to produce a big amount at once.
The juicing and pureeing is still done by hand though.
Was it always the plan to make it a full-time business?
At the beginning in our first year we still had our normal jobs, but the positive feedback we got really helped us to believe in our success and we decided to concentrate solely on Paletas Berlin.
You’ve now got your own shop in Friedrichshain – What were the milestones that have gotten you to this stage?
After our success in catering and at streetfood places, opening a shop was the next logical step. We looked for the right location and found it in our Friedrichshain Kiez.
How important have festivals and events been for Paletas success?
We ourselves love to go to festivals like Fusion and it was clear very quickly that we should bring our popsicles to festivals too.
When we started in 2012, a few streetfood events started popping up in Berlin too. This development of offering great interesting food to a bigger audience was very important for us. The people at these events were excited to try new things and that really helped us to put our name out there.
We’ve also seen Paletas flags & fridges in shops and cafes, how many outlets are you currently stocked in?
Besides our own show and our catering, we always knew that we also wanted to stock Paletas in selected cafes and delis. By now you can find our Paletas in about 150 places in Berlin and other cities, and this number is rising rapidly.
What new flavours have you launched this year?
We created three new flavours this year: dark chocolate, coconut vanilla and blackberry with mint. Of course all three of them are vegan.
What’s the key to creating a great popsicle then?
To be honest, there is no big secret to it. It’s best to use fruits that are in season as they are more aromatic and you won’t need to add a lot of sugar. For a bit of creaminess most people use cream, but we prefer coconut milk, which keeps most of our Paletas vegan.
There really are no limits to your own creativity and what might work together. I’d definitely recommend creating something with herbs like mint, rosemary or thyme – they work incredibly well and taste so good!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a new food business in Berlin?
Anyone who is one hundred percent behind their product can do it!
I believe that especially honest food of good quality is very well received in Berlin, but of course you need to understand upcoming trends a little bit as well.
Where do you like to eat & drink in Berlin?
In the summer we love to have a glass of red wine and some tapas in Lisboa Bar in Friedrichshain.
Complete the following sentence “For me, Berlin is…”
… incredibly diverse. For me Berlin is how it is because of all the many influences from the different kinds of people that live here.