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Italian ice facts for kids

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Italian Ice
Italian ice.jpg
Italian ice in a paper cup
Course Dessert
Place of origin Italy
Main ingredients Water, fruit (concentrate, juice or purée)

Italian ice is a frozen or semi-frozen sweetened treat made with fruit (often from concentrates, juices, or purées) or other natural or artificial food flavorings. Italian ice is similar to sorbet and snow cones, but differs from American-style sherbet in that it does not contain dairy or egg ingredients. It was introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants and is derived from the Sicilian granita, a similar and related Italian dessert. Common flavors include lemon, cherry, orange, watermelon, blue raspberry, mango, strawberry, and blackberry, with numerous other flavors available.

Finely granulated flavored ice is known as water ice in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia metropolitan area (i.e. the Delaware Valley and South Jersey). Like Italian ice, water ice is similarly derived from granita brought to Philadelphia by Italian immigrants. Though largely synonymous with Italian ice, Philadelphia area "water ice" has also been described as a specific type of Italian ice originating in Philadelphia, or a "variation on the more broadly-accepted Italian ice."


Except when made from fruit or fruit juice, Italian ice is defined in US law as a food of minimal nutritional value.

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