Ljubljana, 26. 5. 2017 – I guess I’m not the only one who likes to lick a scoop of creamy ice cream or bite into that sweet popsicle which gently melts in your mouth. Luckily, Slovenia has a wide selection of ice cream parlors, particularly Ljubljana is recently awakened to the so-called gelato scene. Residents and also tourists love to stumble in the popular cafes and pastry shops in the city center such as Vigo, Zvezda, Fetiche Patisserie, Cacao, Gelateria Romantika, Čokoladni atelje Dobnik and the latest addition to Trubarjeva street Ice Wave.

The newest to join the plethora of places to enjoy ice cream in Ljubljana are the creators of popsicles La popsi, Neža Mlakar and Karmen Meze, who have known each other since childhood and are to each other like sisters. Here’s our brief interview with the ice cream girls with whom I enjoyed talking to at the traditional weekly Thursday picnic in Centralna postaja on Thursday May 11 2017. However, if you do not have time even to read this piece on a new thing to do in Ljubljana, just believe me: there is no reason to hesitate trying their delicious sweet popsicles without a guilty conscience!

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Karmen and Neža aka La popsi. Photo: Črt Piksi

What are La Popsi and where does the name come from?

La Popsi are handmade ice cream popsicles with excellent flavors and carefully selected ingredients. The name derives from the initials of our children. L is for Lian who is Karmen’s son, and A is Neža’s boy Alexander. Popsicle is an American name for originally Mexican “helados” ice cream, and our idea actually comes right from the USA.

Interesting, exactly what inspired you to make popsicles and why?

Simply, our children gave us the idea because we wanted to offer them sweet but healthy snacks. We were tired of having their grandparents always bringing them a variety of chocolates and sweets, and so we got the idea on a hot summer day in Las Vegas, USA that we should start making our own home produced ice cream of fresh fruit, no added preservatives and artificial sweeteners – just as they are originally made in Mexico.

How long did it take to set up the project?
The establishment of the project was quite challenging. Every day we talked on the phone for hours and pondered and planned. We had, in fact, a nine-hour difference because Neža was living with her husband and son in Las Vegas and Karmen in Ljubljana. So it took about a year and a half to bring the project to life.

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La popsi ice cream: suitable also for vegans and gluten intolerant

How, where and from what ingredients do you produce the popsicles?

The main advantage of our popsicle, and the secret, is in rapid freezing. This means that fresh fruit freezes in 10 minutes at an extremely low temperature and thus retains full flavor, vitamins, and structure. Because in April and May Slovenian fruit was not yet suitable (ripe), we chose all the ingredients carefully from a supplier and made sure that the fruit which arrived by plane was actually ripe just a few days earlier. We will purchase all seasonal fruits only directly from Slovenian producers. Additionally, most of our popsicles are suitable for people with gluten and lactose allergies as Neža is struggling with the celiac disease herself.

It making the popsicles your only activity?

Karmen has a bachelor as a dental technician but she loves to create in the kitchen and decoration in general. Neža is a BA of tourism, but she really likes working out at shape boxing. So, yes, we are currently making a living from La popsi.

Where are the places to enjoy your treats?
In Mesing Bar in Mengeš, at Cuba Libre Bar in Domžale and at Centralna Postaja in Ljubljana. We also cater for weddings, parties, picnics and such. Every last Saturday of the month until the end of the summer you can meet us at the design fair ARTish in Ljubljana, and soon, we hope, we will pamper you at more venues as well as with a sweet winter surprise – best you follow our Facebook page for updates.

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Karmen and Neža with me (Adelisa) and regular visitor of Thursday’s picnics Tadej Bricelj