What is Haitian Fresco?
Haitian Fresco is an ice treat made with shaved ice, and flavored syrup, and topped with toasted peanuts. In a tropical country like Haiti, enjoying a fresco in the middle of the day is one of the most beautiful things that can exist.
For many Haitians, enjoying a fresco under the sun, especially in the summer when it is very hot, is a real treat because fresco is a refreshing drink. To my knowledge, the origin of this wonderful treat is not known, but it sure is delicious.
Fresco is a Global Treat
This classic treat is known by different names and is particularly popular in the Caribbean, South America, and other parts of the world. The recipes are somewhat similar as the main ingredient is always ice. The most popular name for this snack is the snow cone.
How Fresco is made in Haiti
For many years, merchants (usually men) selling Haitian Fresco would push a colorful 3-wheeler wooden cart in the street yelling “Fresco, Fresco” to alert people. Today, many merchants have upgraded their carts. The upgrade is a metal cart with smaller wheels and an overhead. The cart also is more efficient. It contains a place for the cooler that preserves the ice and compartments for the cups and bottles of syrup. The metal cart is more functional and easier to maneuver around the neighborhoods.
Typically, to make fresco, the merchants use a type of ice grater called a “graj,” made with aluminum. As they grate the ice, it becomes fine like snow. The shaved ice is then poured into a cup, and your choice of syrup is drizzled on top to cover most of the ice.
There are several varieties of syrup. Some of the popular flavors are anisette, mint, orgeat, grenadine, lemon, coconut, and many more. Each syrup has a distinct taste and color. The best part is mixing flavors for optimum enjoyment.
Many people will add toasted peanuts because they believe that drinking fresco with peanuts makes it more flavorful. Don’t like peanuts? Don’t worry, you can have your fresco without it.
Can you make Fresco at home?
Absolutely! Fresco can be made at home using a snow cone machine. You can find several types of snow cone machines on Amazon and the flavored syrup.
To make a homemade snow cone, you need the following:
- Snow Cone Maker or Food Processor
- Fruit syrup (homemade or storebought)
- Snow Cone Cups
To make the snow cone, crush the ice in Snow Cone Maker or Food Processor, fill up your cup, pour the syrup and enjoy.
Adding other roasted nuts is a good idea and even toasted coconut.
A modern look
These days, as we all know, it is all about being innovative. And because service and presentation are very important to any type of business, the fresco carts have been looking pretty nice. Lots of color and design to fully portray what Haiti is all about. Good local food, sunshine, and lots of colors make you feel that you are on a beautiful planet.
Why do we love Fresco so much?
Here are 4 reasons why we love fresco so much:
- Cold and Refreshing
- Always make you feel like a kid
When visiting Haiti, try our local foods. You won’t regret it!
Photo Credits: Sarah Dumel