How It All Started
This story is rooted in nostalgia, but it’s also part dream and lots of stubbornness. I, Fany, was born and raised in Mexico and absolutely love food. When I turned one, my father decided to give me 1 kilo of chocolate truffles. Though most of it ended on the floor and my face (quite thankfully actually), I feel that was where my love affair for sweet treats started.
I always loved going to the market with my sister and mom and was fascinated by all the stands that surrounded us.
Many years later, when it came time to figure out what I was going to study, I was going to go to art school as I didn’t even know cooking was an option. But, once I did there was no going back! My parents were not happy with that idea at all because they know the sacrifices you make in this industry. They feared I would get burned out and not have many options afterward. The funny thing is that they wanted me to pursue a career in arts which also presented an uncertain future, but which they thought was better. They let me attend a cooking school in Mexico for 2 years and said I could study wherever I wanted afterward if I still wanted to, secretly thinking I wasn’t going to like it or would get bored.
At the time there were only a handful of cooking schools in Mexico; I didn’t even know there were women chefs.
I absolutely loved it and ended up going to The Culinary Institute of America and graduated in 1998. After doing an externship at Akelare restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, I returned to New York and have been here ever since. I worked in several restaurants including Rosa Mexicano, La Côte Basque and Eleven Madison Park.
In 2009, I spent a year doing research & traveling through Mexico to write my first book “My Sweet Mexico.”
That experience changed my life.
When I returned to New York, I knew I wanted to share and celebrate the amazing frozen treats & sweets of Mexico.
I wanted to have my own business, but I didn’t know what to do since I wanted to do it all. One day, I had a dream that I was going to open a Mexican ice cream shop in New York. That’s how I decided to start with paletas, the quintessential frozen treat in Mexico. I thought I could test the idea without spending money on an ice cream machine and see how New Yorkers liked the sweet flavors of Mexico.
In 2010, I heard about a new market opening up called The Hester Street Fair. I decided to apply and got in. I had two jobs at the time, so my good friend Hannah helped me out that first summer. We rented a bakery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and would go in when they were done, around 6 or 7 p.m. Hannah would start and I would go after my job finished so I’d show up around midnight and start.
We started out with 5 flavors that I felt represented Mexico – mango chile, hibiscus, coconut, passion fruit and avocado.
We made around 850 paletas for the weekend hoping that we could sell them throughout the weekend but really not knowing what to expect. While we were loading the cart, I fractured my nose with the lid! (that’s another story) but the adrenaline kept me going. There was much anticipation for the market and to our surprise, we sold out within a few hours!!!!
I headed to the ER to take care of my nose and by the end of the summer I had quit both of my jobs and started to plan for the following year.
The rest, as they say, is history in the making….We now have several seasonal locations, have expanded our product line, have our first brick and mortar and are continuously and happily growing.
My mission is to share the sweetness of Mexico; I also strive to create the kind of company that people want to be a part of, support, work for, and partner with. I have tried to build a strong local community in the relationships we have with customers, growers and anyone else that is involved.
It is also important to me to support Mexico as much as I can by promoting and educating, by sharing a rich (and delicious) part of the culture and by giving back.
I do hope, that at the end of the day, you are transported and happy when you visit or try our sweet treats.
Everything we make is handmade from scratch in small batches, using the best ingredients we can get our hands on.
We never use artificial flavorings or colorings.
We carefully source our ingredients, working closely with farmers in New York and the surrounding area to get delicious organic dairy, seasonal fruits and herbs.
We import high quality ingredients that don’t grow around New York,
including Mexican vanilla beans, Oaxacan chocolate, tamarind, dried chiles, passion fruit and hibiscus.
We spend a lot of time making sure we get the best ingredients available and working with small producers in Mexico, as we believe it is very important to support them.
From the beginning, we have been committed to social and environmental responsibility. We continuously strive to become a waste-free company. We compost our scraps, use recycled containers and napkins, and source much of our packaging locally.
We are also proud to support a wonderful organization called Crea and donate a portion of our profits to them.
Crea generates employment opportunities for low-income women in Mexico by offering training and business development support. These women are amazing and a continuous inspiration to our team.
To learn more or get involved, visit www.crea.org.mx
Simply put, the heart and mission of La Newyorkina is to share the delicious sweetness of Mexico and rich culture. We deeply and sincerely hope that you enjoy its sweetness as much as we do!