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

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

6 min read

This story originally appeared on Mexico Unknown

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

If, like us, you are an insatiable lover of cold desserts, surely you have tried those of 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!

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 locate ourselves between the late 1930s and early 1940s in western Michoacán, in Tocumbo (or Tucumbo), to be precise.

Back then, Mexico was barely recovering from the Great Depression, Lázaro Cárdenas had come to the presidency, and the Second World War would soon break out. The overall picture was one of uncertainty, chaos, and change.

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

Don Rafael's business grew rapidly. But what was the secret or what set it apart from the others? Don Rafael made his paletas with seasonal fruit, leaving each one a large number of pieces . Thus, their desserts were unmatched and delicious.

One's wealth can be everyone's wealth

Don Rafael left Tocumbo every day to sell his desserts accompanied by his donkeys. In the meantime, and since the business was prosperous, in his spare time he dedicated himself to teaching the craft of paleting to the youth of his community .

Thus, the famous Tocumbo popsicles were extended until reaching 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 consolidated businesses returned to Tocumbo. There they offered attractive loans for their neighbors and other townspeople to set up their own pallet shops . These loans were very different from those of the banks because they had a low interest rate, were repaid in one year and, if people had any 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 with the closure of several businesses as well as the migratory wave 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, wealth was in their own land and all thanks to the pallets.

More and more flavors!

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

Later, other foods such as popcorn, nachos and even pizzas were also added . This already depended on the taste of the owners because, 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 perhaps has not been completely solved. And is that the quality between one business and another can vary.

On the other hand, it is essential to note 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 Tarascan doll or girl who holds a palette and usually has the phrase “it 's natural ” underneath. Thus, it is alluded to that the great success of these paleterias is that they are handmade and made with natural fruits.

Prosperity continues …

Decades passed and currently, according to the official website of La Michoacana , there are 35 authorized points of sale throughout the country. However, there are many more palaterias that proudly carry 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 , etc.

In addition, its delicious and artisan flavors have been constantly reattempted and extended by 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 borders and delight diners with its freshness and delicacy.

Traveler data

At the end of each year, the Paleta 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 –finished in 1991– and that, currently, is used for the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

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