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This is the story of how La Michoacana was born out of an economic crisis

This paletería has become famous in Mexico for its cold desserts for several decades.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. This article was updated on September 16, 2021
This story originally appeared on México Desconocido

If, like us, you are an insatiable lover of cold desserts, you have surely tried La Michoacana, a Mexican paletería so old and famous that it is already part of our culture. However, do you know its history? If not, here we tell you!

La Michoacana vía Facebook

Paletería La Michoacana, history of tradition and flavor

To know the history of La Michoacana we must go back several decades in time. Let's set ourselves between the late 1930s and early 1940s in western Michoacán, in Tocumbo (or Tucumbo), to be precise.

At that time, Mexico was just recovering from the Great Depression, Lázaro Cárdenas had become president, and World War II would soon break out. The big picture was one of uncertainty, chaos, and change.

However, despite all negative prognoses, something happened in Tocumbo that would change the future of the town forever. And it is that, Don Rafael Malfavón , a paletero known among the people as El Arrapato , dedicated himself to the sale of popsicles.

Don Rafael's business grew rapidly. But what was the secret or what differentiated it from the others? Don Rafael made his popsicles with seasonal fruit, leaving each a large quantity of small pieces . Thus, their desserts were unbeatable and delicious.

The wealth of one can be the wealth of all

Don Rafael left Tocumbo every day to sell his desserts accompanied by his donkeys. Meanwhile, and since the business was prosperous, in his spare time he dedicated himself to teaching the trade of paletería to the young people of his community .

Thus, the famous Tocumbo palettes spread to what is now Mexico City. Soon, the boxes and pallet carts became juicy businesses and these were part of a franchise that, although the exact origin is unknown, received the name of La Michoacana .

Soon, those who already had established businesses returned to Tocumbo. There they offered attractive loans for their neighbors and other townspeople to set up their own ice cream shops . These loans were very different from those of the banks because they had a low interest rate, they were paid off in a year and, if people had a problem making payments, instead of garnishing, they were postponed and even forgiven.

In this way, the people of Tocumbo consolidated and strengthened their economy. Thanks to this, he managed to avoid being part of the economic crisis that culminated in the closure of several businesses as well as the wave of immigration that, in the 1950s, left for the United States with the promise of a better future. And it is that, for the people of Tocumbo, the wealth was in their own land and all thanks to the palettes.

More and more flavors!

Although La Michoacana started with the sale of popsicles, soon the tenants included other products such as soft drinks . However, in a short time these were exchanged for flavored waters , as this way they could directly control the quality of the product and the cost was lower.

Also, later, other foods such as popcorn, nachos and even pizzas were added . This already depended on the taste of the owners, since the franchise as such gave its allies freedom to include or remove products as well as to experiment with new flavors.

However, this freedom brought with it a problem that may not have been fully resolved. And is that the quality between one business and another can vary.

On the other hand, it is essential to point out that the beautiful and popular logo of this paletería was designed by Alejandro Andrade and his team as part of an innovation project. This is made up of a little Tarascan doll or girl who holds a palette and usually has the phrase "it 's natural " underneath. Thus, it is alluded that the great success of these ice cream parlors is that they are handmade and made with natural fruits.

Prosperity continues ...

Decades passed and currently, according to theofficial website of La Michoacana , there are 35 authorized points of sale throughout the country. However, there are many more ice cream shops that proudly bear the name of this famous brand.

It should be noted that, thanks to the success of the brand, some variants have emerged. Among them we have La Original Michoacana, La Michoacana del Portón, La Nueva Michoacana , and so on.

In addition, its delicious and artisan flavors have been constantly re-tried and spread throughout countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and even the United States . This is how La Michoacana, a traditional paletería that was born in Michoacán, continues to break boundaries and delight diners with its freshness and exquisiteness.

Traveler data

At the end of each year, the Palette Fair is held in Tocumbo. This festivity was born in 1989 in order to raise the money that was used for the construction of its church –completed in 1991– and that, currently, is used for the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe.