Cicero residents cool off with Italian ice

July 6, 2010 (CICERO, Ill.)

Freddy's on 16th Avenue just two blocks west of Austin is a place that's famous for its pizza, of course, and for its sauces and pastas and meatballs that fill hundreds of lunch and dinner bellies six days a week. The Italian grocery has been satisfying old world flavor cravings for over 40 years.

Owner Joe Quercia says summer is his favorite time of the year. It's the magic of Italian ice time.

"It is a magic and it cools a lot of hearts and souls," said Quercia.

Quercia says there's a good reason for that. There's nothing artificial in the cool treat - no preservatives and that results in an ice that's oh so nice.

"We always use fresh fruits there's no substitute," said Quercia. "That's what give it the flavor and plus we make it two to three times a day and it keeps the freshness."

"It's the best. If you wanted to do any better than this you'd have to go to Italy," said Joe Mercadante, Italian ice lover

Quercia came to Chicago from Italy when he was 13 and bought Freddy's when he was 18. He's been perfecting his Italian ice ever since.

It's a very simple basic recipe that includes fresh fruit, sugar and water. It's how you put it together that makes it work. And it's a recipe that goes way, way back. "Back in the 1500s they used to bring snow from the mountains in Italy and add flavor to it like cinnamon or lemon or strawberries," said Quercia.

They make 23 different flavors at Freddy's and boy does this little shop sell a lot of it.

"On a hot day like today between 60 and 80 gallons a day," said Quercia.

That's almost enough to create a wind chill factor.

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