A Great Allergen-Free Summer TreatPosted: June 3, 2010
Although you can eat it year-round, summer just seems made for ice cream! Unfortunately for those allergic to dairy products, dangers abound at most local and chain ice cream shops: even if they carry non-allergenic options, such as sorbet, the danger of cross-contamination is so high that it’s too risky to bother. Of course, you can just serve ice cream at home, but if the family wants to go out for ice cream, there is an option: Rita’s Italian Ice.
Available in 17 states plus the District of Columbia, Rita’s main line of product is, as the name suggests, Italian Ice. Italian ice is made mostly with ice and fresh fruit, and although exact ingredient information is difficult to find, I would imagine they also include some food coloring and sweeteners of some kind as well. What’s more important, though, is what is absent: the top 8 allergens. No milk or cream, no egg, no soy. They carry 32 allergen-free flavors (plus chocolate chocolate chip, which contains soy), although on any given day, only approximately 10 will be available at your local Rita’s. Most of the flavors are fruits, such as Mango, Key Lime, Banana and Blueberry, but they also carry other fun flavors like Vanilla, Tropical Punch, and Cotton Candy.
What I like most about Rita’s is the fact that their ice cream case contains mostly non-allergenic foods, as opposed to a traditional ice cream shop which is 80-90% ice cream and 10-20% sorbet. I also like that there is something for the whole family: those without allergy issues can enjoy soft-serve ice cream or custard served in a variety of ways with lots of different toppings.
The prices are reasonable as well, and at least in our area, coupons are frequently available in the mail or in the Entertainment book. They also offer a frequent-buyer’s card, so you can earn free Italian Ice. Our Certain Little Someone is very fortunate that there is a Rita’s just around the corner from the pool where he takes swimming lessons – we look forward to enjoying Rita’s throughout the summer!