Restaurant News & Reviews

Dining Out: The Big Chill

Dining Out

When San Luis Obispo County was sweltering in last week’s heat wave, I stumbled into an oasis amid the steamy shops and crowded streets in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Giordano’s Italiano is a charming new fruit freeze shop that serves icy snacks made from fresh whole fruit or chocolate. Owner Dean Giordano makes each of the six flavors on-site twice a week using no artificial ingredients. As the heat wave continued, I had all the excuse I needed to return several times.

The display counter of freeze flavors looks similar to a gelato shop with each icy flavor decoratively displayed with its scooper. Behind the counter, a juicer is filled with oranges, ready to provide a new batch of the incredible orange flavor.

Giordano says when older customers taste the freezes, they are brought back to their childhood when Italian fruit freezes were made fresh on the spot and not packed with artificially flavored corn syrup.

Old World charm

Giordano captures this Old World way of doing things by creating the sweet snacks regularly by hand in his shop. He also pays tribute to his

The exterior of Girodano’s Italiano on Morro Street in San Luis Obispo. Above right, quarts of the frozen treats are available for takeout.

great-grandfather, displaying a large framed photograph of him with an ice cream cart in front of the Capitol in Sacramento.

On my first visit with friends, Giordano greeted us with samples of his orange freeze. Left to my own tastes, I wouldn’t have considered this simple citrus flavor, instead preferring chocolate, pineapple or strawberry.

Plenty of fruity flavors

But the orange was so fabulous, refreshing and sweet, that I thought no other flavor could possibly be as good. But then I tasted the limon, a blend of lemon and lime. On a hot day, it doesn’t get any better than limon…until you try it mixed with the bomberry—a blend of blueberry and raspberry — that tastes like the ultimate frosty raspberry lemonade.

The strawberry flavor is sweet and light with tiny seeds adding a bit of texture to the icy freeze. Once I mixed it with pineapple and orange and went back and forth figuring out which flavor was king.

Chocolate lovers

Chocolate, the only flavor that contains milk, is a must-try for any chocolate lover. It’s created from melted Ghirardelli chocolate and whole milk that’s infused into crushed ice. While decadently rich, it manages to remain lighter than ice cream.

Giordano says he’s been trying to create new chocolate flavors and would like to add an espresso variety that would be the ultimate mocha icy freeze. Starbucks, watch out.

For eaters of all appetites, Giordano’s offers three sizes served in clear plastic cups that range in price from $2.50 to $4.50. There are also quarts available to take home for $10.

Any flavor could be mixed with alcohol and used to create the ultimate fresh cocktail for a summer party, a far better alternative to a syrupy, processed drink mix.

Reach Dawn White at 781-7946.

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