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Cool treats don't wait for heat

Whenever the first hints of sun hit the forecasts it can only mean one thing: it’s time for ice cream.

Nothing complements a sunshiny day like a sweet scoop or a thick shake, even if that sunny day rapidly dissolves into a cloudy rainfest. Whether it’s the simplicity of vanilla or the flavor explosion of chunks and swirls piled with toppings, take a taste of something creamy to make yourself feel summery inside and out.

EMERALD CITY SMOOTHIE

1058 Lakeway Drive

647-2357

Hours: Monday to Thursday 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 7a.m. -7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

For a healthier alternative to a rich ice cream shake, try a smoothie. Emerald City employee Renee Poole says the Very Berry, loaded with strawberry, blueberry and raspberry, is the most popular drink of the bunch, along with the South Pacific smoothie with strawberry and coconut.

For fitness fans, Poole recommends the Lean Out shake in chocolate or vanilla with peanut butter for a big hit of protein. For a little something extra in your smoothie, try the energy, multivitamin or immunity boosts add-ons for 75 cents. The average price for a smoothie is about $4.50.

MALLARD ICE CREAM

1323 Railroad Ave.

734-3884

Hours: Monday to Wednesday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

This ice cream shop has created approximately 350 homemade flavors to satisfy any ice cream craving under the rainbow, though they only serve 28 at a time.

The most popular flavor is the coconut chocolate chunk with almonds, says owner Ben Scholtz. As the weather improves, people long for the fruity flavors of strawberry, cherry and raspberry, with the blackberry chocolate chunk always in demand.

Some of the more unusual flavors concocted at Mallard include basil, rose and chocolate habanero. In the last six months they’ve also started making coconut-based ice creams with no dairy. The price ranges from $2.50 for one scoop to $4 for a double.

SIRENA GELATO CAFE

960 Harris Ave.

733-6700

Hours: Sunday to Thursday noon-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon -11 p.m.

2925 Newmarket St., Barkley Village

752-0023

Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. daily

For a taste of Italy in the Northwest, try one of Sirena’s 60 flavors of gelato. With less fat than ice cream, gelato is a delicious and guilt-free way to fulfill your cone cravings.

Owner Fahri Ugurlu says vanilla, chocolate, pistachio and hazelnut are some of the most popular flavors. For a dairy-free alternative, try the fruity sorbetto in flavors such as passion fruit and lemon. Ugurlu prefers to keep the selection pure and simple and doesn’t offer sundaes or shakes. Prices range from $3 to $5.

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