Every 36 hours, the dairy mavens at Rita’s Italian Ice scrap their inventory of frozen custard and italian ice and begin churning batches of frozen treats anew. Because freshness is paramount at Rita’s, customers may find only a few of the menu’s full cast of 40 flavors each day. But servers can merge those flavors into countless combinations: the misto, for instance, blends italian ice and custard in equal proportions, and the gelati layers strata of italian ice and frozen custard. Additionally, servers scoop up fat-free Slenderita and sugar-free italian ice for desserts that prove as wholesome and frozen as an ice sculpture of Mr. Rogers.
When it comes to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, chocolate and gold are one in the same. Domingo Ghirardelli started his chocolate dynasty by crafting chocolates for the weary gold miners of the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s. By 1852, his confectionery was in full swing and has remained so for more than 160 years. Today, Ghirardelli chocolate is an American staple, and it's also one of few American chocolatiers to control the entire manufacturing process. That includes everything from selecting the cocoa beans to producing finished chocolate squares. It's such an intricate process that 30% of their beans don't make it to roasting because they don't meet rigorous flavor standards. But in the end, it's a process that produces intense flavors.
Among many others, flavors include milk and caramel, cookies 'n' cream, double fudge, and sea salt. Besides squares, they craft their chocolate into bars, baking products, hot cocoa mixes, and hot fudge to top chilly ice cream.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
The Grande is often booked for weddings thanks to its elegant ballroom, scenic courtyard, and talented staff of chefs and florists. However, the venue also welcomes everyday visitors to a tearoom to partake in the British tradition of parlor teatime. Servers embellish tiered trays with fresh scones and pressed sandwiches with pimiento cheese, braised pork, and other savory ingredients. They also steep leaves of varieties such as oolong or vanilla rooibos in teapots. Guests can dress up in traditional hats and gloves or classic American garb such as prom dresses.
At Yogo Ono a row of stainless steel dispensers stands, armed with 10 different yogurts and sorbets chosen from a rotating menu of over 30 flavors. Some are low fat, some are non-fat but all yogurts are infused with live and active cultures that promote healthy digestion, unlike the cultures in ice cream that promote headaches. More than 30 toppings fill the grid of self-serve bins, such as Reese's, Oreos, fresh berries, sliced fruit, and chocolate sauce.