ColombiaOne.comCultureCholados of Cali: A Refreshing Colombian Delight

Cholados of Cali: A Refreshing Colombian Delight


Cali cholado ice fruit salad
The cholado or ‘cholao’ is a typical Colombian treat from the city of Cali. credit: Michael Geminder/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When the sweltering heat of Cali, Colombia, hits, there’s no better way to cool down and satisfy your taste buds than with a cholado. This iconic Colombian treat is a delightful concoction of ice, fresh fruit, sweet syrups, and a burst of flavors that’ll transport you straight to the heart of Cali’s vibrant street food scene.

Cholados are not just your typical shaved ice dessert; they’re a work of art. The process begins with a large cup filled to the brim with finely shaved ice, often hand-cranked by street vendors. The result is a mountain of soft, powdery snow that serves as the perfect canvas for the delectable ingredients to come.

Fresh Fruits Galore

One of the most exciting aspects of cholados is the abundance of fresh fruits involved. Vendors artfully layer the shaved ice with a medley of seasonal fruits. You might find ripe mango slices, strawberries, kiwi, and pineapple, but the choices can vary, reflecting the freshest picks of the day. These fruits add a burst of natural sweetness and juicy goodness to the cholado.

Sweet and Flavorful Syrups

To elevate the flavor profile, generous drizzles of vibrant, sweet syrups are added. Some favorites include condensed milk for creaminess, guanábana for a tropical twist, and fruit-flavored syrups to enhance the fruity notes. The combinations are endless, making each cholado unique.

Cholados are all about contrasts, so expect a delightful crunch to complement the velvety snow and fruity delights. Vendors often add a layer of crispy cornflakes, creating a satisfying contrast in texture.

What’s wonderful about cholados is the ability to tailor them to your preferences. If you want a little extra zing, you can add a dash of chili sauce or chopped nuts. Some like them extra sweet with gummy bears or sprinkles.

Cali cholado ice fruit salad
Cholado, a fruity Colombian treat. credit: wEnDy/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A Taste of Cali’s Culture

Cholados have become a symbol of Cali’s culture, particularly its street food scene. You can find cholado vendors throughout the city, often set up at street corners or bustling plazas. They provide a refreshing respite during Cali’s hot and humid days and are the perfect on-the-go treat for locals and tourists alike.

Sharing the Love of Cholados

Cali’s cholados have gained international recognition for their unique blend of flavors and textures. As a result, you can now find cholado shops and vendors sharing this Colombian delight in various parts of the world, allowing people to savor a taste of Cali’s vibrant street food culture.

Whether you’re exploring the colorful neighborhoods of Cali or trying a cholado in a new city, these ice-cold creations offer a refreshing and flavorful experience that embodies the spirit of Colombian street food. So, the next time you’re in Cali or come across a cholado stand, don’t miss the chance to indulge in this frozen, fruity, and sweet delight that will transport you to the heart of Colombia’s salsa capital.

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