There are few things in life more satisfying than a bowl of ice cream. It’s nostalgic, it’s fun, it’s delicious! It really brings people together, young and old, because who doesn’t like ice cream? It’s also one of the best sweets to treat yourself to in the sweltering summer months. So why not make enjoying it a social affair by throwing ice cream parties in your community? Get the neighbors together and make it fun, with not only ice cream, but other frozen treats like gelato, sorbet and granita! Here’s how!
First, figure out where you’re going to have your gathering. It could be your house, condo, apartment, or if your community allows, the clubhouse, park or pool area. Get the word out by posting on the community bulletin board, using a connectivity app like FirstService Residential Connect if your community has one, or simply calling and texting others. If you want to get fancy, send out decorative invitations to reflect the color and pattern scheme of your shindig. The decor should appeal to both kids and adults, so throw in some color, blow up some balloons and make sure to have small and large tables and chairs.
Next, set up a frozen dessert station and make sure to use tablecloths because things could get messy (oilcloth coverings make cleanup a snap)! Use any color or pattern you want (stripes, polka dots, you name it) and if you’re feeling especially festive, put up some wall decorations or make goodie bags containing the recipes for the desserts you’ve put out. Make sure to have utensils and refreshments, like water, soda, milk or even alcoholic beverages for the adults. Get creative with the bowls- plastic and glass are fine- but how about cones, waffle bowls and chocolate “bowls” (learn how!). If you want to be different (and have the budget), put out some blenders for guests to make homemade milkshakes. You could even go crazy with “adult” milkshakes, spiked with Bailey’s, Kahlua and other liqueurs or even floats based on beer or stout at your ice cream parties.
Now for the real stars of the show: the frozen treats! Ice cream, gelato, sorbet and granita are your go-to’s. You could theme the shindig by using just one selection (in which case you should have at least 4 flavors) or mix it up with at least 2 varieties of each. As far as ice cream, there are so many flavors, you’re bound to choose at least one that everyone likes.
You could go with the classics (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry) or make your ice cream parties extra special and make your own! Our EOL post on sweet and savory ice creams has four excellent and unique recipes to try. If you’re not that adventurous, try making a simple chocolate ice cream or vanilla. If you want to get trendy, The Daily Meal has the best ice cream flavors of the summer, which are available at most major retailers. Banana Peanut Butter Chip from Haagen-Dazs, Glampfire Trail Mix from Ben & Jerry’s, Lemon Raspberry White Chocolate from Haagen-Dazs and Peaches and Cream from Halo Top (only 320 calories per pint!) are some standouts. Mint Cookie Crunch and Chocolate Caramel Blondie are amazing gelatos from Talenti that also made the list. Speaking of gelato, Taste of Home has an excellent recipe that uses one of Italy’s most popular fruits, lemons.
And playing off Italian flavors, another interesting frozen dessert that you might not be familiar with is granita. It’s a refreshing semi-frozen dessert that originated in Sicily but is gaining popularity all over. It’s traditionally made with fruit and water and therefore serves as a lighter, more nutritious option to ice cream or gelato. Kitchn shows you how to make a granita from any fruit at home. Sorbet is yet another option to consider for your party and this recipe for homemade strawberry sorbet and strawberry-passion fruit sorbet is a real winner.
Now for the fun part: the toppings! There are so many choices: fruit, nuts, syrups and sprinkles, oh my! Cherries are an obvious choice for ice cream, as are bananas (anyone in the mood for a split?). Walnuts and peanuts are great too. Sprinkles include classic rainbow and chocolate, and sauces like caramel, butterscotch and hot fudge are always hits. In fact, Smitten Kitchen has a marvelous hot fudge recipe. One of the most amazing toppings that can be made at home is whipped cream (the can does not compare), and it’s quite easy to do, so consider trying it at home. You can also get a variety of sweets like M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Oreos, mini candy bars, cookies and wafers to add.
So, take advantage of the hot days of summer, grab your neighbors and cool off with ice cream parties! They won’t disappoint.
All copy by Dana Hornor, marketing coordinator in the Dania Beach corporate headquarters of FirstService Residential.