Come Y Bebe – the drinkable South American fruit salad, especially popular in Colombia and Ecuador.
In Latin America, popsicles are known as paletas. There are two types of paletas. One type is fruit based and the other is milk based. The milk based one starts with a combination of coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. These are Paletas de Coco. Fruit can be added to make numerous varieties. Some common flavors include passionfruit, mango and papaya.
Then there are juice based paletas. These come from a popular fruit salad called Come y Bebe, which translates as Eat & Drink. The fruit is chopped very small and served in a lot of juice, so that the fruit salad is drinkable. This is especially popular in Ecuador & Colombia. Someone had the ingenious idea to freeze it and juice based paletas were born.
On Wednesdays, I work in Queens. I live in Brooklyn, so it’s quite a commute. A few weeks ago, it was an especially warm day and with my suitcase of supplies in tow, I needed some sustenance to provide me with energy for my 90 minute commute home and I saw this delicious looking fruit salad and bought a cup. Since I had my suitcase in tow, I take the elevator at the train station, which usually finds me with elderly elevator companions. An older Colombian woman got on the elevator with me and saw me drinking my Come y Bebe. Without request, she started a discourse on the fruit drink. She prefers it without banana because with banana, it is very filling. She just assumed I speak Spanish. Luckily, I do! She found an interested audience in me, while the other elevator passengers (moms with baby carriages) were probably wondering when she was going to be quiet, as they were rolling their eyes.
Every week the Come y Bebe is different. I guess it depends what fruit is on hand. Sometimes it is in watermelon juice and other times it is in orange juice or mango juice. This Wednesday was the last class and my students all presented me with hand written notes. Sometimes I get tired of lugging around all the supplies I need for class – hats, aprons, knives, food on the trains and buses as I go to my different job sites. I consider doing more corporate work which is more lucrative, but I could never get such heartfelt satisfaction as I do from these endearing kids. These notes make it all worth it. Inspired by my students who I will miss over the summer, I made this punch that I know they would love.
Although I had originally planned to make the paletas, time got away from me so I just did the Come Y Bebe, but all you have to do is freeze this combination and you will then have the paletas.
Come Y Bebe – Tropical Fruit Punch
- 1 cup chopped watermelon
- 1/2 chopped pineapple about 2 cups
- 1/3 chopped papaya about 1 1/2 cups
- 2 chopped bananas
- orange juice from 7 very juicy oranges
- 3 1/2 cups mixed fruit puree strained (pineapple, papaya & watermelon)
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Chill in the refrigerator.