Her Best Special: Izzie's Ice

East Nashville residents Alice Carpenter and Elizabeth Gammans are the dynamic sister duo behind Izzie’s Ice. Amanda O’Brien interviewed them to get the scoop.

First of all, what IS Italian Ice?
Well, let’s start with what it isn’t. It’s not a snow-cone or shaved ice. It’s a non-dairy frozen dessert that’s made from real fruit. This separates us from the other Italian Ice merchants in town; we use absolutely no artificial ingredients.

How do you make it?
We start with fresh fruit, which we either squeeze or puree. Then, after using our own (top secret!) all-natural recipes, we process it in an Italian ice machine. It then must be maintained at 16° to get that smooth texture, which is vital to real Italian Ice.

What flavors do you sell?
Our menu changes daily based on what ingredients are fresh and available. We always have lemon, and we’ve also offered watermelon, kiwi, lime, orange, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, peach melba … the list goes on and on.

Where do you get your ingredients?
Elizabeth and I love the concept of supporting our local economy. Of course there are no lemons or oranges grown in Tennessee, so we do the best that we can. We shop the Farmer's Market and our neighborhood Kroger, and we get bulk lemons and oranges from a local supplier.

How many lemons does it take to make one fabulous cup of Izzie's Classic Lemon?
About one.

What makes Izzie's superior to all other Italian Ice?
We are not superior to all. We have traveled to Italy many times, and they do a great job as well. You just can't improve on the real thing, but locally we win hands-down.

What's your most popular flavor?
Lemon … by a long shot. It’s a classic.

What's the strangest flavor you've ever made?
Exotic is probably a better word. We try to steer clear of “strange”. We considered, for example, doing a tomato ice for this year’s Tomato Art Fest, but decided it would probably be best not to go there. We are always experimenting, and we have 30 nieces and nephews who are our taste-testing team. Chocolate coconut is probably our most exotic creation so far. 

Between the two of you, who has the more exotic taste?
Hmm, good question. We have both done our share of “adventure eating”.

Is Italian Ice high in calories or fat? Would you agree that Izzie's is an important part of any balanced diet?
Traditional Italian Ice is a non-fat food item with plenty of vitamins, though the previously mentioned chocolate coconut experiment did have some fat content. Calorie counts vary, but as a dessert, it is a healthy food source. 

Would you agree that Izzie's also tastes excellent with alcohol poured on top? 
Of course!

I was kidding.
We’re not! With a lime ice, think tequila. Strawberry? Think vodka. Peach? Think rum. I could go on and on …

Please do! I’m feeling inspired. (And thirsty!) Speaking of inspiration, what inspired you to start an Italian Ice business?
We were talking one day about what we miss from where we grew up the East Coast, and we came up with two things: The ocean and Italian Ice. Other than that, we love living in 37206. We’ve lived in Tennessee for almost 20 years, and we’re staying!

Is one of you the more business-minded and one the more creative? Or do you share those roles?
We come from a very creative family (we are two of 11 children), so we both enjoy that side of the business most. However we both have experience running businesses in our careers, too. 

Where did the name Izzie's come from?
An unplanned brainstorming session with a really good friend. We heard her say it, and it was instantly, “Yes!!”

Where can people find you?
We’re open at 1000 Riverside Drive in East Nashville (at the intersection of Riverside and Rosebank) Tuesday through Saturday from 12 - 6:30 p.m. We’re also open Sundays from about 12 p.m. to around 4 p.m., though we may change our hours based on customer feedback. We also have a traveling Izzie’s Ice cart, and we move around the city with that, trying out new locations and meeting new people. We’ve done a number of special events, too. To learn more about where we are and what we’re up to, people can follow us on Facebook and Twitter @IzziesIce. Our website is www.izziesice.com.

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To read this and other Her Well-Being stories, click here.

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