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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Stick 'em up

Popsicles are gaining new fans with artisanal flavours, natural ingredients and claims of being preservative-free
The Straits Times - August 14, 2011
By: Rebecca Lynne Tan
| More
Stick 'em up Love Token (above) offers flavours such as peanut butter and chocolate Cointreau and Mr Edrick Chua, owner of Popaganda, uses organic agave syrup, a natural sweetener, instead of processed sugar and buys fruit that is in season. -- ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

Popsicles have popped back into fashion.

But this time, forget the 50-cent, plastic-tasting and neon-hued icy poles that stain your tongue bright green, orange or purple.

The new sort are frozen confections on ice-cream sticks that have gone upmarket with artisanal flavours and natural ingredients, and claim to be preservative-free, too.

No longer are flavours limited to fizzy orange, lime or chocolate fudge. New home-grown popsicle players such as eight-month-old Popaganda, three- month-old Frostbite and month-old Love Token offer sticks of mango coconut, lemon olive oil, sour plum calamansi, honeydew soy and raspberry cheesecake.

Prices have popped, too, though. They now range from $2.50 to $4.80 a stick.

The popsicle resurgence began last year in New York, where artisanal popsicle operators People's Pop, La Newyorkina, and gelato and sorbet stick-sellers Popbar melted consumer hearts.

In Singapore, Mr Edrick Chua, 36, owner of Popaganda, whose pops are stocked in stores such as clothing shop Whiteroom in Haji Lane and organic smoothie outlet Lins' Smoodees in China Square Central, says he saw a gap in terms of healthy food for the masses.

He figured that dessert would appeal to everyone, and what is more, a dessert that would evoke nostalgic childhood memories.

And so, too, did rival popsicle start-up Frostbite, with outlets in Suntec City Mall, Toa Payoh and One Fullerton.

Ms Alpphenyl Ooi, 23, who runs Frostbite, says the frozen treat on a stick is an 'accessible concept' even for the older generation. She says: 'It is something they can identify with. Anyone can understand a popsicle.'

She says the older generation sometimes feels left out, especially with hip trends such as frozen yogurt and new-fangled ice- cream flavours.

How the popsicle tastes is also important, operators say.

Popaganda, Frostbite and Love Token all say their pops are preservative-free.

Mr Chua has opted for fresh fruit over concentrates and preserved juices, and, where necessary, adds organic agave syrup, a natural sweetener, instead of processed sugar. For instance, Popaganda buys fruit that is in season. One of its most recent flavours is lychee beet, made with fresh lychees and pulp, with a touch of beetroot which gives the popsicle its pink hue.

Frostbite also uses fresh fruit juices for its fruit-based popsicles.

Looks also matter these days. Love Token, which has a kiosk in the Takashimaya Food Hall in Ngee Ann City, offers its sticks in the shape of hearts and cubes of chocolate.

Operators emphasise that popsicles are more environmentally friendly, too, because pops do away with cups and spoons.

And consumers LifeStyle spoke to have noticed it.

Says bank employee John Yap, 26, who has been tucking into pops at Frostbite's Suntec City outlet: 'It reminds me of school tuckshop days and I don't have to worry about disposing plastic spoons and cups - a wooden ice-cream stick is biodegradable.'

More importantly, consumers are big on the new flavours and the use of fresh fruit.

Of Love Token's flavours, which include peanut butter, chocolate Cointreau and raspberry cheesecake, accountant Ellen Goh, 44, says: 'Who knew raspberry cheesecake on a stick could taste this good?'

Designer June Leong, 32, who likes Popaganda's raspberry lemon balm pop, says: 'It's like getting my daily dose of vitamin C in a cool, refreshing treat to beat the heat. Fantastic.'

TOP OF THE POPS

LOVE TOKEN

Where: A kiosk in Takashimaya Food Hall, B2 Ngee Ann City

Open: Daily, 10am to 9.30pm

What: These popsicles come in

different shapes and flavours. A raspberry cheesecake popsicle is heart-shaped, while a green tea popsicle comes in the shape of a cubed block of chocolate. Other flavours include mao shan wang durian, dark chocolate, lime sorbet, coconut and black sesame.

Price: From $4.80 a stick

FROSTBITE

Where: Three outlets - Block 190 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, 01-546; Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard, 01-140; and One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road, 01-11

Open: Toa Payoh, daily, noon to 10pm; Suntec City, daily, 10am to 10pm; and One Fullerton, weekdays, 9am to 10pm, and weekends, 9am to 11pm. What: Each outlet usually stocks 15 flavours, which include sour plum calamansi, grapefruit passionfruit, chendol, blackberry cranberry and honeydew soy. Premium flavours include chocolate caramel. The fruit popsicles are made with fresh fruit juices and fruit purees.

Price: From $2.50 a stick for fruit flavours and from $3.50 a stick for the richer, premium flavours such as blueberry cheesecake, chocolate caramel and chocolate orange.

Info: Call 9066-0029 or e-mail ask@frostbite.com.sg

POPAGANDA

Where: Available at four places - Lins' Smoodees, China Square Central, 18 Cross Street, B1-02, tel: 6438-2123; The Pantry, 75 Loewen Road, tel: 6474-0441; Whiteroom, 37 Haji Lane, tel: 6297-1280; and Strangelets, 7 Yong Siak Street, tel: 6222-1456

Open: Various opening hours

What: There are about 15 flavours, including lychee beet, raspberry lemon balm, mango coconut, avocado cacao nibs, pure coconut, and a refreshing and tangy lemon olive oil. The popsicles are made with natural ingredients and do not contain artificial colouring or additives.

Price: $4 a stick for fruit flavours, $4.50 a stick for premium flavours such as avocado cacao nibs

Info: Call 6295-0811 or e-mail hello@popaganda.com.sg

 

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