Today's Italian ice, also known as water ice (particularly in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley), is a sweetened frozen dessert made with fruit (often from concentrates, juices or purées) or other natural or artificial food flavorings, similar to sorbet. Italian ice is not shaved ice that is flavored; rather, it is made by the same process by which ice cream is made: freezing the ingredients while mixing them. Italian ice is similar to sorbet but differs from American-style sherbet in that it does not contain dairy or egg ingredients, though it may contain egg white.Common flavors include blue raspberry, cherry, lemon, mango, orange, strawberry, and watermelon, with numerous other flavors available. It is believed to be derived from the Sicilian granita, a related dessert which may have been brought by immigrants to the United States. Authentic Italian ice contains no pieces of fruit: smooth tiny grains of flavored ice, lemon being the quintessential flavor.John's Water Ice is one of the iconic shops for it, so Kaitlynn and I took a stroll to get out hands on some. This cash-only shop is window service only, and on a hot summer day, it was certainly busy.f
At first, I thought this was going to be a snow cone, and while it's similar, the flavoring is actually within the ice and not added afterward. It's also much smoother. I went with a cherry flavor, which was pretty good. Because it was so hot, the thing just practically melted apart as I was holding it - red going all over my hands. BUT, the flavor? Way better than a snow cone. And a good way to cool off, too.