Bella Pops, Batch, Hotlix: 3 sweet spots in SLO County

Beat the heat with a fresh-fruit Bella Pop, smash your favorite cookies and ice cream into a sweet Batch sandwich, or take it to a whole ’nother snack level and experience the creepy candies created at Hotlix

Special to The TribuneAugust 28, 2013 

Summer may be drawing to a close, but you can still delight in some summertime treats, be they fruity and refreshing, creamy and cold, or even buggy and sweet!

Bella Pops

mybellapops.com

Mainly found at local festivals such as this weekend’s Beaverstock music event at Castoro Cellars, Chris Anderson’s Bella Pops are also currently available in Paso Robles at the General Store and Jack Creek Farms, and in Pismo Beach at the Honeymoon Café.

When family and friends starting raving about the handmade popsicles Chris Anderson made for a camping outing, a business idea popped into her head.

After Anderson spent about a year sourcing equipment and developing recipes, Bella Pops became a reality in 2011 (joining the Tiber Canyon olive oil label she already owned and operated with husband Will Carlton).

The nondairy, all-natural gourmet popsicles are handcrafted in small batches, giving Anderson the flexibility to take advantage of seasonal fruits and whimsical ideas.

As a result, the myriad of flavors available at any given time can range from watermelon to orange banana, lavender lemonade to strawberry lemonade, peach basil to orange-grapefruit with star anise — the latter of which was inspired by a salad dressing recipe.

Chocolate is also well represented with flavors such as dark Mexican chocolate, dark chocolate coconut and dark chocolate orange.

Obviously, the popsicles are popular with kids, but Anderson noted that “one of our tag lines is ‘Bella Pops are not JUST for kids.’ For adults, they bring back memories of childhood and bring out the kid in everyone. For some reason, the pops just make you happy.”

Batch

1108 Broad St., San Luis Obispo | sweetbatch.net | Open daily at noon, until 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, until 10 p.m. Thursday and until midnight Friday through Saturday.

When it opened a little over a year ago, Batch brought a delectable concept to downtown San Luis Obispo — made-to-order ice cream and cookie sandwiches available as a single, a double, or a whopping triple with four cookies and three choices of ice cream.

The freshly baked cookie selections include time-honored favorites such as chocolate chip, peanut butter and oatmeal, plus vegan and gluten-free flavors.

In addition, there’s a “batch of the day” that depends on the whims of the staff; recent temptations have included sugar cookie, red velvet and coffee chocolate chunk.

For the ice cream patties, Batch uses the locally made Doc Burnstein’s brand. As with the cookies, traditional flavors are always on hand, and a rotating list might also offer marshmallow crunch, caramel marble or even Bing cherry sorbet.

To top it all off, select from toppings ranging from mixed nuts to mini chocolate chips to crushed potato chips.

If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, opt for a dipped ice cream on a stick, a root beer float, or affogatto — your choice of ice cream kicked up with a shot of espresso and whipped cream.

Hotlix

179 Pomeroy Ave., Pismo Beach | 773-1942 | www.hotlix.com | Open daily 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Proving that one person’s “eewww” is another person’s “yummy,” Hotlix has been serving up bug-laden candies for almost 30 years.

When Larry Peterman took over an existing candy store in Pismo Beach, its flagship product was a cinnamon sucker that had given it its name.

In the early 1980s, he introduced a dramatically new flavor with a wiggly twist: a tequila sucker with an actual worm embedded inside.

That remained the company’s best seller until 2005, when a lineup of variously flavored scorpion suckers crawled their way to No. 1 both nationally and internationally. Quickly jumping into the No. 2 position was the new lineup of savory “Crick-ettes” — and yes, they are what you think: crickets flavored with bacon and cheese, sour cream and onion, or salt and vinegar.

The Pismo retail store also offers several other buggy delights such as chocolate covered crickets, or you can opt for bug-free treats like brittles and retro candies.

And if caramel apples are your thing, you can get them with bugs, or without.

Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at ktbudge@sbcglobal.net.

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