“I’ve got this theory that Monday’s aren’t a great day for pops,” says Julia Clavien as we sit in the shade on a 28 degree day licking her just-made chocolate and wattleseed icy poles.
Clavien is one half of Sydney summer traders, Fresh Pops, who pedal their icy poles – which include flavours such as rose raspberry and rockmelon and lemon – around to inner city markets (Eveleigh and Glebe) most weekends and then out to parks (Hyde Park) and community festivals (Newtown, Crows Nest, Avalon) during the warmer months. “We just float around and pop up a different spots when the sun is out,” she says, smiling.
“I’ve always had a big love of street food,” she continues. “When you travel, you see so much exciting street food all over the world from Asia and the Americas and even in Europe. That’s where I fell in love with street food and doing thing mobile with bikes.”
Clavier founded Freshpops with business partner Samantha Taylor a little over a year ago, and not unlike mini food trucks for which our chase continues, Freshpops has a small but growing fleet of two foot-powered bicycles with Esky-like boxes filled with dry ice mounted to the front to keep the gourmet pops cool when they hit the streets.
“People seem to be in a pop mood on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Clavien continues. “They’re treating themselves, even though it’s a healthy product.” Indeed, despite pops feeling like a naughty treat, these ones are all natural. The girls try to keep any added sugar to a minimum, chiefly using raw ingredients and nothing artificial. Fruit is their main ingredient and they tend to sweeten citrus-based pops with a dash of honey or raw organic caster sugar. The creamy pops are made with organic milk and cream.
Via constant experimentation, they’ve now made over 100 flavour variations. “You get inspiration from so many things,” says Clavien. “You go out and have some kind of new dessert and you go ‘Oh, imagine that as a pop’.”
They experiment with flavours like rose, orange blossom and chai, and have created flavours like orange blossom and banana, as well as Mexican-style spiced coffee with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and spices, and favourites like watermelon and sea salt.
And now that strawberries, pineapples and watermelons are in season, there’ll be lots of red fruity flavours in the cart. “People go crazy for the red ones,” says Clavien.
But even with crazed fans, life ain’t so bad for a humble icy pole maker. “It’s hard work sometimes,” Clavien says with a smirk. “I’ve had nightmares about things melting, but that’s about as bad as it gets.”
Freshpops were kind enough to share one of their choice recipes below.
Watermelon Sea Salt Freshpops
Small wedge of watermelon
Juice of half a small lemon
Pinch of sea salt flakes dissolved in 20ml boiling water(if required)
Raw organic caster sugar
- Slice up watermelon into rough 3cm chunks, removing seeds and rind.
- Add watermelon chunks, sea salt water solution and juice of half a lemon to food processor. Process on lowest speed until combined (if required, sweeten mixture to taste with raw organic caster sugar).
- Pour mixture into moulds, leaving a centimetre free at the top for expansion during freezing. Place in the freezer for four to five hours to freeze, or overnight.
- When you are ready to serve, dip bottom of moulds in hot water for a few seconds to loosen pops. Remove pops from moulds, serve, and enjoy!
Find out where Fresh Pops will be next and what new flavours they’ll have in their carts via facebook.com/Freshpops.