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Summer Guide 2012

Cold comfort

Icy treats for days when it's so hot you could lick a snowman's balls

Photo: Rob Bartlett, License: N/A

Rob Bartlett

In the bad old days B.A.C. (Before Air Conditioning) the best chance you had of cooling off in Florida's tropical heat was to set a fan to blow across a block or bowl of ice. (Still not a bad trick when the air, inevitably, breaks on the hottest damn day of the year.) But even now that we have the option of retreating into the technological wizardry of modern HVAC, ice is still the best way to bring down body temperature – just wrap yourself around it instead of sitting in front of it.
Ice cream's good, sure, but the premium stuff can be too fatty and rich in a summer steambath. Lighter than ice cream, twice as refreshing, your best hydration bet is a water-based popsicle, slushie or snow-cone: nothing but sugar and water, frozen cold as a snowman's cojones. Most of our choices for portable summer coolants are a notch above the freezer-case versions, but don't you worry — they'll still stain your mouth. Summer just isn't summer without a sticky bright-blue grin.

Peak Season Pops: check facebook.com/PeakSeasonPops for schedule and locations
Nothing against Fla-Vor-Ice if that's all you can get your hands on, but a summer this cruel calls for a more sophisticated pop. Steven and Jana Rice use seasonal local fruit and natural sweeteners, so their product won't give you that chemical afterburn the way a store-bought freezer pop will. Flavors like stone fruit-and-malbec, mango-chili and cantaloupe-ginger sweeten the deal.

Yum-Yum Pops: check yumyumpops.net for schedule and locations; also available at Homegrown Local Food Cooperative, 2310 N. Orange Ave., 407-895-5559
Completely dairy-free, made with local and organic ingredients wherever possible, Yum-Yum may be the closest thing to guilt-free summer snacking. Sunshine Daydream is a credible Dreamsicle analogue, strawberry-lemonade is an uncomplicated hot-weather refresher, but chocolate sea salt, made creamy with pureed bananas, is cocoa transcendence.

Pop Craft All-Natural Artisan Pops: check popcraftpops.com for schedule and locations
The owners of Pop Craft take popsicles very seriously (just browse their jam-packed website for proof). Luckily, their commitment to their craft means they take the time to test and refine their product, and the quality shows. Their pops and paletas (Mexican frozen-fruit treats) – in luxurious flavor combos like blueberry-lemon-basil, strawberry-balsamic, pear-tarragon-thyme and Mexican chocolate – are heaven on a stick.

Bourbon Street Snoballs truck: check bourbonstreetsnoballs.com for schedule and locations
New Orleans perfected the art of the snowball long ago: What looks like a simple snow cone reveals itself to be an altogether more sophisticated treat of feathery fine-shaved ice drizzled with your choice of almost 50 flavors – including NOLA tributes like King Cake, Hurricane and Cajun Red Hot.

Summer Guide 2012
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