Fruta: Michoacan Ice Cream in Santa Rosa

Chocolate smockololate. When it comes to hot licks this summer, Mexican ice cream is the coolest. In flavors like corn, queso (yeah, cheese), sweet potato, and walnut as well as more traditional strawberry, mango and vanilla, Michoacan neverias (ice cream stores) are 31-flavors like you’ve never seen.

Or maybe you have. “Everybody, when they come in they say, ‘It’s just like home. It’s just like Mexico’,” said Carolina Cruz, co owner of Santa Rosa’s Fru-ta, a Michoacana paleteria y neveria. Cruz and her husband, Salvador, who hail from Guadalaraja opened the tiny shop on Stony Point Road with veteran Michoacan ice cream maker Alberto Medina heading up the kitchen. “He makes everything Michoacan style, pure 100% fruit. When people see that name, they don’t care how long they have to drive to get it,” said Cruz.

Among the specialties are elote (corn), that tastes like the sweetest, ripest corn you’ve ever eaten, and is surprisingly delish; mamey, a Mexican fruit like papaya, changunga, a small sweet fruit found in Michoacan and a sort of fresh ricotta-like cheese (queso) made into ice cream. Also unique: Mangonada, a puree of mangos with a sour “salsa” of chamoy (a sweet/hot condiment), lemon juice, salt and pepper that devotees swear is addictive.

For the less adventurous, there are more accessible sorbets of lime, mango and strawberry; frozen yogurt, chocolate covered bananas and strawberries, and smoothies with every fruit under the sun, along with horchata, pina coladas and fruit popsicles (paletas) in dozens of hues and flavors.

Nestled deep in the heart of Roseland, it’s a welcoming spot, but not always staffed with English-speakers — so you may need to do a bit of pointing and smiling if your question’s getting lost in translation. BiteClub resorted to some rather embarrassing pantomime, but ended up with the goods.

Window shopping and tastes are, of course, free, so there’s no harm in taking baby steps, should neverias be new to your vocabulary. Chances are, however, you’ll be fluent in the universal language of Michoacan ice cream treats before you know it.

Fru-ta, 2770 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa, 542-6026. In the Bellvue Shopping Center, Open M-F 11am to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 9pm.

(Also of interest: La Michoacano, in Sonoma. Exotic flavors are made onsite, and are amazingly creamy and rich, often with fruit or other tidbits (nuts, candy) mixed in. Flavors are usually on the board, but its worth asking for a few samples just to, you know, make sure you’re making the right choice. Top bet: Pinenut and Mexican caramel. Don’t miss the paletas, frozen bars made with fresh fruit. 18495 Highway 12, Sonoma)

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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14 Comments

  1. The place is spectacular. The variety (forget 31 unimaginative flavors) and quality of the ices and ice creams are off the hook. Peach yogurt with real chunks of peach, Blueberry yogurt, same. I’m not a big fan of nuts in deserts, but the Walnut ice cream was sensational. I can’t wait to go back and work my way through the line up. You literally cannot rule out a flavor because of the name, you have to sample. I want to own one of these shops.

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  2. I read this review and Fruta is near my house so I went and tried it. It was amazing. The customer service was great. I don’t care what the agenda is when the food is made local by an artisan it is worth mentioning. I thought the place was a refreshing substitute for generic, mass market ice cream. I will tell everyone about this ice cream!

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    • Went today. Oh my! I’m in very big trouble now! Fortunately it’s on the other side of town, or I’d be there several times a day. We enjoyed the corn, the sweet potato, and the walnut. Looking forward to trying everything else.

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  3. Hey Heather,
    Could you review a McDonalds or Burger King so we have some variety? Please no Taco Bell though, I’d hate for you to have a Hispanic agenda! You keep writing your awesome reviews sista and ignore Jay and his diversity ignorance.

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    • :) Anyone wanna recommend my next “agenda”?

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  4. What a boring place it would be if all we had to eat were steaks, burgers, hot dogs, fries, and other “all-American” items. A lot of travelling has taught me that people may look different on the outside, but inside the plumbing is all the same. I love different the different creative twists each ethnic group places on the same ingredients. Keep up the good work.

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  5. Thank you Heather for the review on Mexican ice cream, La Michoacano in Sonoma is da bomb!!!!!!!!!

    I enjoy this food blog for exactly the same reason some of these racist boneheads of Sonoma County condemn you for.

    You bring a fresh, fun and respectful approach to your food review. I appreciate that you do offer more than the boring “bugger” and “peeza” reviews. I guess you can’t expect to please the Mcdonalds and Taco Bell crowd.

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  6. I actually loved the last 4 reviews. Paletas are da bomb! Changunga is one of my favorites. Thanks Heather!

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  7. Jay’s a prosophobic xenophobe.
    Probably thinks pizza, chow mein, lasagne and hot dogs are American dishes.

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  8. People get over yourselves and try out Fruta!

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    • This place is awesome.
      The taste is so much better than the crop of “fast food fro-yo places that have recently spawned”
      Support your local community businesses and enjoy a delicious treat at the same time

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  9. Yeah Heather– what’s with the “hispanic agenda???” How about getting back to a variety of non-hispanic agenda restaurants instead of writing a handful of long, detailed, well written reviews of places I’ve never heard of that celebrate the actual diversity of Sonoma County.

    You might see an uptick in comments, especially if you do another survey where people like Jay can list their favorite burger spot or pizza place that we all must try.

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  10. seems to be an hispanic agenda these last 4 articles, how about getting back to a variety of restaurants.
    You might see an uptick in comments, which has been lacking due to boring reviews of the same type of places.

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    • Sigh. Love that suddenly I have an agenda. Really, people? I’m disappointed in the haters.

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