Sun | Jul 25, 2021

Chill-Pops: Gourmet paletas sweeten the Negril experience

Published:Friday | June 18, 2021 | 1:03 AMDebra Edwards/Contributor
Blue Mountain coffee ice cream topped, with coconut flakes and cookie crumbles.
Blue Mountain coffee ice cream topped, with coconut flakes and cookie crumbles.
The open and colorful layout of the Chill-Pops Boardwalk Shopping Village location in Negril.
The open and colorful layout of the Chill-Pops Boardwalk Shopping Village location in Negril.
Handcrafted artisanal pops available at Chill-Pops.
Handcrafted artisanal pops available at Chill-Pops.
Damir Tufail, founder of Chill-Pops.
Damir Tufail, founder of Chill-Pops.
The Chill-Pops pop-up at Azul Beach Resort offers guests sweet treats on location
The Chill-Pops pop-up at Azul Beach Resort offers guests sweet treats on location
Chill-Pops’ menu was created by artist, Bug Art.
Chill-Pops’ menu was created by artist, Bug Art.
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With the tagline ‘Taste the Island’, you might be hard-pressed to decide on just one flavour to try from gourmet paleta spot Chill-Pops in Negril.

The answer to your sweet decision-making conundrum is simple, says founder Damir Tufail. “Try a couple,” and with prices ranging from $350 to $600 per sweet treat—why not?

Hailing from Mexico, people often mistake brightly coloured paletas for mere popsicles, but a taste test quickly diminishes the thought that these pops are regular anything, and the similarities end at a frozen treat on a stick.

Made with 100 per cent fresh and natural ingredients, these handcrafted, artisanal pops have been creating a buzz in the tourist town of Negril since opening in September 2020, with a wide cross-section of people, including gastronomes, social media influencers and kids, cooling down to bursts of organic frozen flavour in the form of Chill-Pops. “It’s a brand for the people. The whole family can enjoy,” says Tufail.

The pops come in three different categories: fruit-based, ice cream (fudge), and alcohol-infused.

Fruit-based flavours include pine and ginger, watermelon and lemongrass, sorrel, mango passion fruit, and soursop. Premium ice cream-on-a-stick lovers can indulge in Oreo cookies and cream, Blue Mountain coffee, strawberry, and coconut savours. Spiked treats include Rumsicles (rum punch), whiskey sour, pina colada, and Scotch bonnet margarita. You can also choose to up the dessert ante with toppings such as sprinkles, almonds, coconut flakes, and cookie crumbles.

Located at Boardwalk Shopping Village on Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril, the open layout of the shop is filled with bright artistic signs, created by Savanna-la-Mar native Bug Art, that read ‘dip it’, ‘top it’, ‘nyam it’, among other sayings, making it a great backdrop for a selfie with your artisanal pop in hand.

Hometown boy Tufail moved backed to Jamaica from the United States a few years ago with the idea and a dream of starting Chill-Pops. “I believe in Brand Jamaica,” he told Food. “I love the quality of life that our island offers, and I believe in investing in Jamaica.”

Realising his dream, however, didn’t come without tribulations — especially during a pandemic. “I was supposed to open up when it was announced we were going to be under lockdown. So, I had to wait.”

Once Chill-Pops finally began selling, and the word got out, the popularity of the frozen delights has been steadily growing, with no melting insight. With a new joke in the town being ‘Did you even go to Negril if you never had a Chill-Pop?’ things seem … sweet. Currently, the brand has a pop-up at Azul Beach Resort and will be offering soft-serve options and opening a new location in Montego Bay soon.

Concerning the growth of Chill-Pops, Tufail says he’s filled with gratitude, and adds, “We are working with what we have and trying to give the people what they want.”

Chill-Pops Gourmet Paletas: The Boardwalk Shopping Village, Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril Jamaica, Phone: 876-957-3278, Instagram: @chillpopsjamaica.

lifestyle@gleanerjm.com