Back in ’64 and 65′ we spent the year in Rhode Island while my dad did a tour in Vietnam. One of my fondest memories of summer in Rhode Island is sippin’ Del’s frozen lemonade on the beach at Goddard Park. Del’s mobile lemonade unit showed up regularly at the park, much like the Ice Cream man shows up on neighborhood streets.
As the story goes, the DeLucia family patriarch made limon granita (ice) in 1840, in Naples, Italy. It’s said that during the winter he carried snow into nearby caves and insulated it with straw. He mixed ripe lemons and their juice with just the right amount of sugar and snow, and sold the drink at the local market. Franco DeLucia brought his father’s recipe to America at the turn of the century, and his son, Angelo, is credited with making a machine to produce the frozen treat. In 1948, Del’s Frozen Lemonade acquired its name, and, soon after mobile units were introduced to serve it anywhere in the state.
In my many travels, I always try the frozen lemonades or lemon Italian ices in the hopes of experiencing the nirvana of Del’s sweet lemon flavored ice mixed with small bits of lemon rind. I’ve never really found anything else like it. I’ve tried making it myself, too.
A few weeks ago, while I was in Rhode Island for a family reunion, my aunt gave me a few packs of the lemonade mix to bring home with me. It’s just about as good as getting it fresh from a Del’s stand or mobile unit.
Visit Del’s on the web. They have a cool store where you can buy Del’s memorabilia and packs of lemonade to make at home. If you’re a die-hard Del’s fan like I am, visit Del’s Facebook page and check out new and vintage photos and cool products and friend them, or follow them on Twitter.
Review by Sherry Nappa