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Ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, shave ice, oh my!

By Megan C. Wallgren - Correspondent - | Aug 5, 2012

With summer temperatures soaring, cool treats are big business. And it turns out variety makes life sweet. 

Forget 31 flavors, Utah Valley residents love to create their own. From frozen yogurt to snow cones, they want options. Rainbow snow cones are old news — the practice of mixing flavors has moved on to other chilly delights.

Many successful frozen dessert companies are following a mix-your-own business model where customers can make or request any combination of flavors.

“One little kid got every flavor we have in one ice cream,” said Cameron Foote, owner of Sub Zero Ice Cream in Pleasant Grove.

“You can come in every single day of the year and have different ice cream,” he said. Sub Zero mixes and freezes ice cream to order.

Cayden Clark, 11, likes to load up on the samples before choosing his flavor combination at Maui Chill, a new frozen yogurt store in Lehi.

He doesn’t have a favorite. “I like to try something different every time.”

At Maui Chill the customer runs the yogurt machines, choosing the flavor combinations, volume and toppings. You pay by the ounce.

Utah Valley residents also look for texture — the smoother the better. 

“It’s like eating snow,” said Shelbie Shill, a frequent customer of Snoasis in Alpine. “I come here twice a week; I love it.”

“It’s so much smoother than other ice,” Shill’s friend Mallory Ash said. “They’re the best snow cones in the world.”

Ernesto LoRusso, owner of Terra Mia in Orem, said his gelato has a smoother texture than ice cream because of the way it’s made. “It’s kept at a different temperature. It isn’t infused with air like soft serve ice cream so it’s very creamy and smooth.”

Foote said because of the super speedy freezing process used at Sub Zero, ice doesn’t get a chance to form in the mix. “So you get a really creamy and smooth ice cream,” he said.

When it comes to ingredients, fresh is best.

Yuki Shaved Ice in Provo employs the experts on fresh. “We mix every flavor from scratch out of real ingredients from the farmers market, not boxed flavoring mixes,” Yuki owner Dan Purdon said.

Yuki uses local produce as much as possible so many flavors are “in season.” Some of this week’s mixes include cantaloupe, rhubarb and jalapeno. Fruits like peach and strawberry also are popular right now.

LoRusso said it’s the fresh quality ingredients that not only make his gelato a healthier option, but give it an authentic Italian taste. “We import ingredients from Italy to make some of the flavors,” he said.

Here in Utah County, when people find the perfect spot to beat the heat, they like to bring friends. 

“It’s all about word of mouth,” Purdon said. “We have to make an impression on those people who do find us so they’ll remember where we are and come again.”

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