Today is the last day of the annual National Ice Cream Month in the U.S. How are YOU going to celebrate?
I discovered the impact that frozen treats can have on corporate groups when I used to work for a Canadian wireless communications firm. One year, there was a heat wave in the spring. Realizing that the conference room would be uncomfortable in the afternoon, I drove to the grocery store, picked up some pink lemonade and mixed it just in time to return to the workshop I was facilitating.
After popping it in the freezer for about 30 minutes, I was able to treat the group to something refreshing with just enough frozen lemonade to be refreshing. People love it. After that, to deliver treats without the need for mixing, I kept Popsicles in the freezer and invited participants to help themselves on hot days.
Here are 6 other frozen treats that groups will find hard to resist:
Granita, which originated in Sicily, is a semi-frozen treat made from sugar, water, and fruit or fruit juices. No special equipment is required to make it. Half-frozen liquid is flaked with a fork to produce a granular texture.
Ices originated in Italy and spread to France and England as a luxury for royalty and well-to-do families. (Think back to Jane Austen's Persuasion.) These frozen treats are made from juice and juice concentrates. Lemon ice is even more refreshing than lemonade on a hot day.
Tradition holds that a Roman emperor invented sorbet by mixing ice from the mountains with sugar and wine. Today, sorbet is made from fruit punch that blends a variety of fruit juices. It's an excellent menu option that can be enjoyed by guests who are lactose intolerant.
4. Frozen Coffees, Cocoas, and Chocolate Beverage
Frozen coffees and chocolate beverages are increasing in popularity. Serendipity 3 in New York City is world-famous for its Frozen Hot Chocolate, introduced in 1962. They now sell the mix for this delectable concoction.
Here is another frozen chocolate treat inspired by Serendipity 3.
Gelato, an Italian dessert, which was originally made from snow and ice during Roman times, is a soft ice cream made from milk with at least 3.5% butterfat. The other ingredients include, sugar, fruit, and, sometimes, pureed nuts. (Gelato is a lower calorie menu option than ice cream.) In Italy, gelato is so popular that a Gelato Museum opened in Bologna in 2012.
6. Ice Cream
Of course, ice cream will always be a crowd-pleaser. In the U.S., ice cream must be made from cream with at least 10% butterfat. It's made from a frozen custard base that's churned.
To take things to the next level, serve up some delicious flavors that are popular in other countries. For example, in Canada, maple walnut is a favorite in Quebec. In the Caribbean, grapenut and rum and raisin are big hits. From Switzerland, Movenpick's Swiss Chocolate ice cream sounds ideal for groups in search of a cool and refreshing treat.
Fortunately, dairy-free alternatives are now available that all guests, even those who require lactose-free diets, can enjoy.
Photo Credits: Mrs. Gemstone, Anne Thornley-Brown, Executive Oasis International