New Helados Handcrafted Ice Cream and Pops is Just in Time for Summer
May 23, 2016 03:12PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger
Mexican Vanilla (and Much More!)
By Kerry Pipes
Helados is the Spanish word for ice cream. If you’ve never had Mexican ice cream - think fresh fruits, lighter dairy and a sorbet-like texture - you’re in for a treat. There’s nothing like a freshly made and dipped scoop of Mexican ice cream to really hit the spot on a warm summer day and it’s now available right here in Mansfield at Helados Handcrafted Ice Cream and Pops.
The new “Mexican snack place” is the brainchild of Eva Valencia who grew up in a family that was always involved in restaurants and the food business. Ten years ago her family opened its first ice cream shop down in McAllen, where Valencia was living at the time. It did well. “When I moved up here to the Mansfield area a year ago I knew we owned this property and I thought Mansfield could use a Mexican ice cream shop that had authentic Mexican treats and snacks,” says the 28-year-old entrepreneur.
She opened the shop last February in the former Sonic
location that has hosted a number of restaurants over the years and had been
unoccupied for about two years. Valencia is a graphic designer by trade but is
focusing exclusively right now on getting Helados Handcrafted Ice Cream off the
ground. “It’s been a lot of work but I enjoy this and we fill a niche in town,”
Knotty wood paneling adorns the perimeter walls inside and bright white paint illuminates the interior walls in the small remodeled space. Cute colorful light fixtures dangle from the ceiling and a few wooden tables and chairs await ice cream eating customers. Shiny stainless steel coolers display the ice cream and popsicles but there’s also many other snacks to be had (more on that later).
Valencia’s got 6 employees and also finds herself in the store daily. It’s important for her to oversee quality control and handle managerial duties such as ordering supplies and bill paying. She says they make the ice cream and popsicles fresh from scratch at least three times each week. The menu remains pretty consistent but she says they try to rotate in one or two new flavors each week.
Make no mistake, the ice cream and popsicles get top billing here. Valencia says her traditional Mexican ice cream is made with only the freshest fruits and ingredients. Helados Hand Crafted Ice Cream even keeps a sugar-free choice on hand and also offers dairy-free choices for those so inclined. The popsicles, too, are made with the finest all-natural ingredients, fruits and nuts. The popsicles are available in water-based and milk-based recipes. Get a warm churro (a cookie) with a scoop of ice cream, or choose your favorite ice cream and have it pressed between two cookies for a dessert sandwich. But there is more to choose from if you find yourself craving something besides ice cream and popsicles.
Have a waffle topped with ice cream, any of their fresh toppings or the old-fashioned way with maple syrup and butter. There are also milkshakes and fruit smoothies. The smoothies can be water or milk-based and are available in mango, strawberry chamoy, nutty banana or choco-loco. They also have snow cones and fruit cups – all kinds of fruits from pineapple, cantaloupe and apple, to banana, papaya and mango and more.
Try the elote, a Mexican version of corn on the cob. This traditional treat features a buttery corn on the cob smothered with sour cream, mayo, lime juice and Mexican cheese. There’s all kinds of fresca drinks and even Mexican Coca-Cola to wash it all down. Other sweet drinks available include Sandia Mia (watermelon, cucumber, lime juice and chile blended together) or Horchata-chata (a traditional Mexican beverage made with rice, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.)
On our visit, after carefully sampling several of the scrumptious ice cream options, and upon Valencia’s suggestion, it was a scoop of their cream cheese and berries ice cream. It did not disappoint. The rich tastes of cream cheese and fresh berries complemented each other in the creamy concoction. There are typically eight flavors of ice cream on any given day. Pistachio and cookies and cream were two other choices available on our visit and worth a try next time.
The popsicles were just too tempting to pass up and the uniqueness of the chai tea popsicle was calling out. What a great frosty take on the chai tea indulgence. Helados Handcrafted Ice Cream offers 10 milk-based popsicle flavors and another 10 flavors that are water-based. Valencia says kids love the gummies and lemonade popsicles (you can see the gummy bears just below the surface) and adults can choose from tantalizing flavors such as strawberry and agave, mango chile, cucumber lime or passion fruit.
With the warm summer months coming on, Helados Handcrafted Ice Cream and Pops is just the right place to cool off.
Q&A With Helados Handcrafted Ice Cream And Pops Owner Eva Valencia
Eva Valencia grew up in a family that was always in the restaurant business. You might say it’s in her blood. She recently moved to the Mansfield area from McAllen and this past February launched her unique take on Mexican ice cream. Helados Handcrafted Ice Cream And Pops was designed to give people a sense of “authentic Mexican treats and sweets,” she says. We had a chance to stop by and visit with her on a warm spring morning and, of course, sample some sweets. She seems to be doing a great job getting this shop off the ground and is eager to get more involved in the Mansfield community. Here’s a little of what we found out about her during our visit.
Q: What makes your food/menu unique?
A: We make all of our ice cream and popsicles in the store with the highest quality of products available.
Q: Any new menu items on the way?
A: We are trying to incorporate new flavors this summer such as strawberry and mango dairy free.
Q: What is the most popular ice cream/popsicle you make?
A: The most popular ice cream flavor is cream cheese and berries.
Q: How do you want customers to remember their experience?
A: I want them to remember our handcrafted ice cream and feel the passion we put into our product.
Q: What is your favorite type of food to eat?
A: I would have to say sushi.
Q: If you go out to eat, where do you go?
A: I'm a big fan of brunch and love to explore new places around DFW. Bread Winners in Dallas is my top favorite.
Q: What are your other hobbies?
A: Reading, exercising and design.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote or advice you’ve received or given?
A: That anything is possible as long as you are willing to work for it. Best advice given by the people I most admire, my parents.
Q: What’s the last book you read?
A: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.
Q: If you had to choose another profession what would it be?
A: I would have chosen astronaut, as funny as that might sound. I do love what I do and wouldn't trade it for anything else.