If you haven't discovered Chet's Italian Ice yet, you need to do so. On hot and sticky summer days, it's a cool and delicious treat made with local ingredients, and for those with allergies almost all the flavours are dairy-free. Of course, they are gluten-free as well! Italian ice is made with a sugar-and-water syrup and fresh fruits.
Their website lists basic flavours such as the classic lemonade, plus mango, strawberry, and others. It's their Facebook page where you learn the weekend's menu and about special such as The Patriot, which layers fresh raspberries & blueberries over lemon sorbet, to Thai Delight, a base of coconut with ginger, lemongrass, and basil, incredibly refreshing. Others that cycle through include:
- Arnold Palmer (sweet tea & lemon)
- Blackberry ginger
- Strawberries n cream (a rare flavour with dairy)
- Pineapple jalapeño
- Peaches n cream (also dairy, and delicious with the blackberry)
- Mexican Chocolate
- Valencia orange basil
- Mojito (refreshingly minty)
- Raspberry lime Ricky
- Root beer (featuring syrup from Avery's)
Sometimes Chet and his crew add a bit of wine from a local winery to the blackberry for a rich-tasting adult variation. If you have trouble deciding between flavours, you can get two at once as a single serving is two scoops. Blackberry ginger with peaches-and-cream, or mojito with lemonade or coconut and mango - make your own combination!
I usually see them at a farmers market such as Hill-Stead Museum (where if you are a Friend of the Market you can get a single-serving for free if you buy a take-home pint) on Sunday morning or Billings Forge at lunchtime on Thursday, and they are at the one in Wethersfield late Thursday afternoon as well as special events elsewhere. You can invite Chet's to your special event, as they have a small cart that travels - you can see it in the slideshow.
Want more information? Read about Chet's Italian Ice in the June 2012 issue of Connecticut magazine's list of the 25 top ice cream places in the state, and a mini-interview with Chet on CT.com (and printed in the Observers).