Two summers ago I went through an ice pop phase and decided that Columbia needed a gourmet ice pop vendor after reading about places like Locopops in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. I never went through with filling this sorely needed niche, but this year Douglas Baer popped (pun intended) up on the scene with Chill Out Pops, and he is doing it deliciously right.

This morning I hit the All Local Farmer’s Market at 711 Whaley with one mission: ice pops for breakfast. It might not sound like the healthiest idea but if you’re anywhere in the South today you know that the air is nearly thick enough to swim through.

(Photo source: @chilloutpops)

The market was quite crowded around 10 a.m. so I used my $8 quickly and wisely by buying a few sunflowers from Floral & Hardy Farm, then getting out of the crush of people in the building and back out to get the more enticing than ever ice pops in my hands.

I chose one for the moment and one for later. The fresh fig, orange and port was for the moment. (Please excuse the iPhone photos, I did take my big Canon camera but the heat, the crowd and the fact that the ice pops were under time constraints made me go with the easiest method of photo capturing.). The fig-orange-port pop was icy and light, with a bright, sweet orange flavor throughout, and  fresh fig chunks dotting the pop for a chewy little treat every few bites. Towards the bottom of the pop was a great syrupy alcoholic punch from the port. Because the pop was starting to leak at the bottom first, sucking the liquid from that was a fun little shot of boozy goodness that makes you smile like when you taste the bubbly in a Sunday morning mimosa.

With a short stop for a train on Assembly in the way, this pop was finito by the time I got back on the bridge to head home. Unable to stop myself, I knew that my ice pop for later was going to get eaten right then and there. I thought that the fig-orange-port pop was good but this one really blew me away, especially as a lover of everything holy and chocolate.

The chocolate cocoa flavor sings in the smooth, creaminess of this pop. The addition of toasted almonds just burst through here in ways that made me question if I wanted to sacrifice a bite of this pop for Patrick to taste it (I did- he said it was good). If it’s even possible, the part that’s even better than the taste is the ingredient list. If it’s too hard to read in the photo, the ingredients are: Milk, cream, almonds, cocoa, agave, vanilla, and cinnamon. That’s IT. No overly cloying sweetness is present in these pops.

Each pop is $2.50 and is worth it, especially in this humidity that’s lingering over the South like a wet blanket. You can follow them on Twitter to see where they’ll pop (pun intended, again) up next. It’s been less than an hour now since I was at the market and I’m thisclose to going back up there for more pops but I know that with flavors so good (and so local), that Chill Out Pops will be around for a while.