On a hot day in Colombia’s southwestern Valle del Cauca region, few treats offer the refreshing sweetness of the cholado. Part snow cone, part fruit cocktail, the cholado soaks shaved ice with passion fruit (maracuyá) and blackberry (mora) syrups, then layers on fresh fruit (banana, strawberry, soursop, mango, and lulo are favorites) and condensed milk. For a bit of dry, crispy texture, vendors garnish their colorful creations with coconut shavings or a wafer cookie. The whole decadent pile is often topped with a maraschino cherry.
Served in a cup with a straw and spoon, the result is a satisfying blend of fruity, crunchy, creamy, and, most importantly, cool. Toppings and syrups vary vendor to vendor, so be on the lookout for new flavors and fixings. Some peddlers might coat their cups in whipped cream or shredded cheese. The latter makes cholado the chilly summer counterpart to another sweet-savory treat in Colombia: the cheese-topped hot cocoa known as chocolate santafereño.
Need to Know
Outside of Colombia, Queens, New York, boasts many cholado vendors.
Where to Try It
Las Americas Bakery40-30 82nd Street, Elmhurst, New York, United States
The cholados at this Queens establishment cost about $5 each.