Culture

La Michoacana Is The Mexican Ice Cream Chain With A Very Complicated History

Anyone who has had a popsicle in Mexico is probably familiar with the La Michoacana brand. It is as ubiquitous as Burger King is to hamburgers or Dunkin’ Donuts is to donuts. La Michoacana stores can be found anywhere — from the smallest villages to the largest cities in Mexico and among Mexican immigrant communities in the United States.

The signature product are their paletas, which come in like a billions flavors such as spicy pineapple, cheese, and mango with chili. Although, at first glance, all La Michoacana stores appear to be alike, important differences indicate that they do not belong to a single franchise. The name suggests a common origin in the state of Michoacán, which stretches from the Pacific to central Mexico.

The story of La Michoacana is an interesting one.

Credit: lamichoacanaicecreamparlor / Instagram

Although, not all of the estimated 8,000 to 15,000 locations are part of the same company, even though they look alike, they all have a common heritage.

In fact, nearly all of the La Michoacana paleterias have connections to the same small town in the Mexican state of Michoacan — Tocumbo.

Yup, even though there are nearly 15,000 unrelated La Michoacana shops, nearly all of them can trace their roots back to Tocumbo.

Tocumbo is a small town in the state of Michoacan that is well-known across Mexico for its amazing ice cream.

There are many stories out there about the possible origins of La Michoacana.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

One version is that in the 1960s, an ice cream maker from Tocumbo, Michoacán, came to work in the United States, seeking a better life, later returning home where he used his savings to launch an ice cream and paleta-making business. 

A second version suggests that in the 1930s or 40s, Agustín Andrade and Ignacio Alcazar, also natives of Tocumbo, moved to Mexico City, where they worked at a paletería, later launching their own store, La Michoacana. They were said to have brought this business model back to Michoacán, where it was copied by other enterprising ice-cream lovers! 

Of course, in those days, nobody thought about copyrighting the name, and so now, regardless of the true origin of the name, even the smallest of Mexican towns have one or more “Paletería La Michoacana.”

Regardless of which story is true and which La Michoacana chain is the original one, we can all agree Mexican ice cream is the best.

Credit: lamichoacanaicecreamparlor / Instagram

If you’re an ice cream fan, Mexico is a destination you will love, with an ice paletería on pretty much every corner selling paletas. And these popsicles are legit – made with fresh fruit, sometimes blended with milk or cream (paletas de leche) and sometimes just with sugar (paletas de agua).

Like, if this isn’t my childhood right here.

Credit: lamichoacanaicecreamparlor / Instagram

When I was a kid, a paleta was a big deal. Summertime meant that the ice cream cart, bell tinkling, would make its way through the neighborhood where I lived. After a frantic plea to mi mama for money, she counted out coins and I raced to the corner where the rest of the kids were already gathered, waiting for the vendor to dig through his icy case for mango, limon, fresa, or the reviled banana.

Hot summer days made those frozen snacks melt quickly, down childish fingers and the side of the hand, down the wrist and almost to the elbow in sticky trails of blood red and pale green. Nips of the cold treat slid in a chilly track from tongue to stomach, giving a few moments relief from the heat and humidity.

And seriously, who doesn’t love Mexican flavors of ice cream?

Credit: lamichoacanaicecreamparlor / Instagram

From rich and creamy to sweet and spicy, Mexican ice cream flavors and paletas are known for their expansive flavors.

What are your favorites?

The non-brand chain of shops has even expanded into the US.

Credit: lamichoacanaicecreamparlor / Instagram

Currently, there are stores in Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Arizona, and all over California. But how many of these are linked to the original and how many aren’t?

READ: 20 Latino Ice Cream Spots In LA You Should Definitely Try Out When You Visit

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This Mexican College Student Is Going Viral For Breeding the Largest Bunnies In the World

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This Mexican College Student Is Going Viral For Breeding the Largest Bunnies In the World

Photo via yakinkiro/Instagram

Look out Bad Bunny. There’s another breed of bunny in town that’s taking the internet by storm. A college student in Mexico recently went viral for the oddest thing. He has genetically engineered a strain of rabbits to be the largest in the world.

21-year-old Kiro Yakin has become a viral sensation after internet users have seen him with pictures of the giant bunnies he genetically engineered.

Yakin, a student at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla on the Xicotepec campus, is studying veterinary and animal husbandry. He began his experimentation by breeding two unique rabbit types together. The Flemish Giant rabbit and other, longer-eared bunnies that Yakin happened to notice. As a result, his monster-bunny was born.

According to Yakin, his experimental bunnies grow up to 22 pounds  Flemish Giant, while the average Flemish giant weighs 15 pounds. But make no mistake, Yakin’s bunny experiment was no accident. “It takes an average of 3 to 4 years to reproduce this giant species,” he told Sintesis.

Yakin’s ultimate goal is to breed a rabbit that can grow up to 30 pounds. “I am currently studying genetics to see how to grow this breed of giant rabbits more,” he said.

Yakin, who has had a soft spot for rabbits since he was a child (pun intended), now cares for a whopping fifty giant rabbits out of his parents’ home.

Luckily, his parents are supportive enough of his dream that they support their son (and his bunnies) financially. “I have the financial support and support of my parents to buy food a week for all 50 giant rabbits,” Yakin told Sintesis.

But he also admitted his project has a long way to go. “So far I have not set aside the time or budget that is required to start the project more seriously,” he said.

The only thing that’s preventing Yakin from committing all his time and energy to creating even bigger bunnies is–what else?–money.

Photo via yakinkiro/Instagram

Although he already submitted a proposal to his university to try and expand his research, as of now, he is self-financed. However, Yakin makes a bit of extra cash by selling the giant bunnies to private customers.

His ultimate goal though, is to open up a large, professional farm where he can breed and cross-breed his bunnies to his heart’s content.

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Mexicans Travel To U.S. For ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Say It’s A Matter Of Survival

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Mexicans Travel To U.S. For ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Say It’s A Matter Of Survival

The United States is one of the world’s most successful countries when it comes to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine program. So far, more than 200 million vaccines have been administered across the U.S. and as of this week anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible.

Meanwhile, in many countries around the world – including Mexico – the vaccine roll out is still highly restricted. For many, who can afford to travel, they see the best option at a shot in the arm to take a trip to the U.S. where many locations are reporting a surplus in vaccines.

Wealthy Latin Americans travel to U.S. to get COVID vaccines.

People of means from Latin America are chartering planes, booking commercial flights, buying bus tickets and renting cars to get the vaccine in the United States due to lack of supply back in their home countries. Some of those making the trip include politicians, TV personalities, business executives and a soccer team.

There is an old Mexican joke: God tells a Mexican he has only a week left to live but can ask for one final wish, no matter how outrageous. So the Mexican asks for a ticket to Houston—for a second opinion.

Virginia Gónzalez and her husband flew from Mexico to Texas and then boarded a bus to a vaccination site. They made the trip again for a second dose. The couple from Monterrey, Mexico, acted on the advice of the doctor treating the husband for prostate cancer. In all, they logged 1,400 miles for two round trips.

“It’s a matter of survival,” Gónzalez told NBC News, of getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. “In Mexico, officials didn’t buy enough vaccines. It’s like they don’t care about their citizens.”

Mexico has a vaccine rollout plan but it’s been too slow in many people’s opinions.

With a population of nearly 130 million people, Mexico has secured more vaccines than many Latin American nations — about 18 million doses as of Monday from the U.S., China, Russia and India. Most of those have been given to health care workers, people over 60 and some teachers, who so far are the only ones eligible. Most other Latin American countries, except for Chile, are in the same situation or worse.

So vaccine seekers who can afford to travel are coming to the United States to avoid the long wait, including people from as far as Paraguay. Those who make the trip must obtain a tourist visa and have enough money to pay for required coronavirus tests, plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and other expenses.

There is little that is fair about the global race for the COVID-19 vaccine, despite international attempts to avoid the current disparities. In Israel, a country of 9 million people, half of the population has received at least one dose, while plenty of countries have yet to receive any. While the U.S. could vaccinate 70 percent of its population by September 2021 at the current rollout rate, it could take Mexico until approximately the year 2024 to achieve the same results.

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