1. Italian Ice scoops differently than ice cream. When scooping ice cream, the fat (milk) content has an emollient feel to it. To serve, a wet metal scoop is used to roll the dessert from the container. Since Italian Ice has no dairy ingredient in it, there is no fat content to help the ice cream slide off a metal scoop. For that reason, we have found the best scooping technique for sorbet style Italian Ice involves the use of Dishers. A disher is typically used in food service to portion control to serve various food items, and has a "clicker" that helps sweep the ice out of the spoon.
Tip: They come in various sizes, usually color coded based on size, and how many scoops it takes to fill a 32 ounce container. A #12 (green handle, 2.67 fluid ounces) will fill a 32 ounce container with 12 scoops. A #16 (blue handle, 2.00 fluid ounces) will take 16 scoops to fill the same container.
2.Choose the proper marriage of scoop size and container shape for the best visual presentation. Once you know the volume of product you intend to sell (# of ounces and price), picking the correct scoop size and cup layout is important. The scoop should fill and slightly overflow the cup container to give a sense of value. If the cup is too large for the serving, it will look end up making the serving look smaller than it really is. For this reason, although it is nice to not have a lot of inventory of cups, a "one size fits all" approach does not work either. If it is necessary to keep utensils to a minimum, then limit the serving offering you provide to the sizes available that will work with that one cup.
Tip: Use multiple smaller scoops to fill the serving size, allowing customers to mix and match if they choose! Suggest great combinations for better customer service.
3. Proper Scooping Technique. Just as it is important to have the proper tool to serve Italian Ice, the proper technique will help ensure providing the best tasting product. Unlike ice cream, where the technique is to "roll" the product into a hollow ball, Italian Ice is best served by dragging the disher across the surface in sweeping strokes. This action helps to release the flavor from the fruit, soften the product and prepare it for eating.
Tip: Avoid "digging" holes into the product, instead scrape around the edges and the center evenly, leveling the top of the product as you serve. If the ice is maintained at a level serving surface, there are less chances of hard ice edges forming along the sides or ridges left behind. Product will remain smooth and serve-able. (No waste!)
4. Don't add water. Just because Italian Ice is water based, it doesn't mean it likes water. :-) Avoid dipping wet scoops into product. If possible, leave the scoop in the tub, handle up while in service. If that is not possible, remove excess water by tapping scoop on a bowl, towel or other edge before scooping. Drips will freeze and cause ice drops in the product.
Tip: Be sure to wipe dry the container lid before placing back on tubs. Most lids will develop water condensation on them while they are sitting aside from use. This can play havoc with your product!
5. Serve and store properly. Mita's Italian Ice serves best between 0 and +10 degrees. Due to the different fruit properties, some flavors will be slightly softer or harder than others within the same freezer setting. As you work with the varieties, adjust where you place them in your freezer for best conditions. Softer flavors will be best stored in the corners of a freezer, where the two sides will have better temperature control. Harder flavors are best served from the center spaces. Long term storage is best done in temperatures under 0 degrees. Use a tool like a plastic dough scraper to smooth and flatten the top of the product.
Tip: While still slightly soft, place a piece of wax paper on top and tap slightly, until it sticks to the product. This helps provide a seal that keeps longer and reducing chances of freezer burn.