Berry-flavored Italian ice served in glass with fresh blueberries
What Is Italian Ice, Anyway?
Italian ice is a summer treat made from frozen fruit juice or flavored water, which is whipped to achieve a fine, melt-in-your-mouth texture similar to sherbet but dairy-free.
Popularized by chains like Repicci's Real Italian and Rita's Italian Ice, Italian ice is akin to granita, slushies, or shaved ice but has a creamier texture and no chunks of ice.
It was invented in 1915 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, when Caterina DiCosmo tried to recreate granita from her Italian hometown, but inadvertently made a smoother and creamier treat.
The DiCosmos still make Italian ice using traditional methods. While popular flavors include lemon, mango, and cherry, you can find unique options like Swedish Fish at Rita's.