If you thought ice cream was the best way to beat the sweltering summer heat,think again: Italian ice—stored at a teeth-chattering 12 degrees—is here to steal its thunder. Like the creamy stuff, it’s made in a batch freezer, but instead of using milk and cream, 12 Degrees Italian Ice makes its fruit flavors by churning water, fresh fruit extracts, purees, and sugar, so they’re totally dairy-free—and totally refreshing.
The texture is similar to sorbet, but not quite—and it’s nothing like a snow cone. Owner Victoria Spencer is quick to draw the distinction. She and husband Dean opened the seasonal Maineville shop five years ago to introduce the area to the popular Italian ices they grew up with in Delaware.
Venturing into creamy territory, the shop’s specialty is its gelati, but it’s probably not what you’re imagining: Italian ice and soft serve fill a cup in alternating layers, with a swirly dollop of the creamy whip on top. Our favorite was the silky smooth peanut butter cream ice (containing 10 percent dairy), the mocha cappuccino, and the best seller, chocolate with chocolate chips.
12 Degrees Italian Ice, 34 Grandin Rd., Maineville, (513) 583-0396