Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jun 29, 2011 10:19 PM

Cream ices and water ices

In what's still an Italian-American neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, there used to be a stand (shown below in decay, and since vanished) whose wares included both cream ices and water ices, as well as ice creams and shakes. I understand that "water ice" is often considered a synonym for "Italian ice." Nowadays, is "cream ice" more commonly known by another name? Is it simply an Italian ice prepared with a certain amount of dairy?

Put plainly: Would some Chowhound explain the distinction between cream ices and water ices? Thanks in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I wouldnt know about an American context but I'd always think of a "water ice" as being a sorbet rather than an ice cream.

    1. I think of it as one having dairy (cream ice) and the other one not having dairy (water ice).

      1. While growing up in Hoboken, NJ, in the 1960s, we had an Italian ice stand that sold the usual flavors (cherry, lemon and chocolate) and also something called yum yum, which was a creamy, vanilla custard ice. I guess the latter qualified as a "cream ice" though we never referred to it in that way. It was just another flavor of Italian ice.

        This doesn't really answer your question but it adds to the conversation. :)

        3 Replies
        1. re: ttoommyy

          HA HA re yum yum! I always thought water ice was a Jersey thing. And to my Connecticut ears, it always sounded funny as we'd say Italian ice or lemon ice. Do you think yum yum was actually gelato? Or frozen custard? Or its own thing altogether? I'll just go on record to say Italian ice/lemon ice is NOT sorbet. I wonder if what we call these frozen treats simply varies by region.

          1. re: kattyeyes

            "Do you think yum yum was actually gelato? Or frozen custard? Or its own thing altogether?"

            Definitely not gelato. I've had frozen custard and it's not the same. I think it's its own thing.

          2. re: ttoommyy

            I recently had my first taste of yum yum at a game of base ball. Now I've been wondering about the possible connection to a product like the custard-flavored ice (shown below, mounted on pistachio ice) at the Court Pastry Shop in Brooklyn. Given the slivered almonds, the flavor that Court Pastry Shop calls custard, other shops may call cremolata.

          3. All Philly Italian neighborhoods have what they advertise as "Water Ices". I never had a water ice in Philly because my trips have always been during winter months. Court Pastry shop in Brooklyn has some GREAT ices for sure ... and for me, they're a heck of a lot closer.

            Answers to FAQ's -->