Picture a warm Florida day or evening, strolling St Armands Circle. Even with the gulf breeze drifting across your skin, the sun is warm on your shoulders and maybe you’re feeling the heat a little more than you’re used to. On days like these, what could be more refreshing than an ice cold popsicle? Imagine the crisp, smack-you-in-the-mouth flavor of a true gourmet popsicle. If you’re like us, you’ll find yourself under the orange awning of The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pop store, located next to the Sunglass Hut on St Armands.
(Here’s a link to the map of St Armands so you don’t drive in a circle looking for their store! They’re in the Aqua Quadrant.)
Opening in Sarasota last December, The Hyppo (pronouced Hippo) is a Florida chain with 12 locations. Founded in 2010 on Hypolita Street in St. Augustine, the company has developed over 450 flavors of Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, with most selections dependent upon the seasonality of their ingredients. At any given time you’ll find over 40 flavors featured on their menu board, some sweet, some savory and some with that zing of spice found in various hot peppers.
Priced at $3.75 each ($4 with tax) there’s no reason to settle for “just one” Hyppo Pop. At my recent visit, I went for a classic flavor, the Toasted Coconut Hyppo Pop, which I had dipped in chocolate for a dollar extra. These popsicles are so loaded with fruit that my Toasted Coconut was not just bursting with flavor, but also the texture of coconut flakes. Adding that hard chocolate shell elevated my ice pop to the gourmet category The Hyppo strives for.
The majority of the Hyppo pops 450 flavors are dairy free, which is almost a luxury for folks who can’t or choose not to consume dairy products. The few pops that do contain dairy, like the cheesecake inspired ice pops, are indicated with a white circle next to their name, so it’s simple to order a pop that fits your dietary restrictions.
Some of the choices really astounded me. Sweet Potato Crunch has pecans in it, and the Blackberry Goat Cheese, which I could NOT resist totally blended the flavors of the fresh, juicy blackberries with that unmistakable tang of goat cheese. There are a number of standard choices, but on the whole, The Hyppo’s Gourmet Ice Pop’s flavors are waaaaay-out of the box in creativity, with new flavors always on the launching pad.
Packaged and frozen at the company’s headquarters in St. Augustine, The Hyppo fills its freezers with only the freshest ingredients, many grown here in Florida. There are also a few Hyppo Gourmet Pops that feature alcohol, like the Bourbon Peach pop or the Easy on The Mangos pop with IPA beer. You’ll get the flavor of the liquor, but not so much that you’d have to be 21 to order one.
One suggestion when you go to The Hyppo Gourmet Pops store: Be sure to take your smartphone so you can look up flavors you’re not familiare with. That could include Horchata (a Mexican inspired beverage made with ground almonds and other nuts and seeds,) Chicha (a South and Central America beverage that includes corn beer,) or Datil, a pepper found in several of the gourmet pops at The Hyppo.
Between Mart and I, we sampled the Toasted Coconut dipped in chocolate, the Blackberry Goat Cheese, the Pineapple Cilantro and the Mango Habanero. So we had sweet, savory, and spicy Hyppo Pops . . . all with a smile on our face!
If we had to choose a favorite, I’m guessing it will take awhile. We’re inspired to keep trying Hyppo Gourmet Pops until we narrow it down to just one.
Like THAT’s gonna happen!