Chilly treats

Shave ice is a cov­eted Hawai­ian dessert

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - DESTINATIONS -

of a cup of sugar as other places make with a full cup of sugar,” Ig­na­cio prom­ises. This com­bi­na­tion al­lows for brighter flavours that are also health­ier, he says. “There’s re­ally a sci­ence be­hind it. Tra­di­tional flavour­ing is just the ones that you can find any­where else. The nat­u­ral flavour line is a whole dif­fer­ent ball­game.” Sci­ence may cre­ate the ul­ti­mate shave ice, but it’s the artis­tic com­po­nents that truly el­e­vate it. The Halo Halo flavour is a prime ex­am­ple. An­thony Bour­dain once de­scribed the clas­sic Philip­pine dessert Halo Halo as “oddly beau­ti­ful.” The shave-ice ver­sion is even more so, with layer af­ter layer of sur­prises. Ini­tially de­vel­oped for the Philip­pine com­mu­nity, the gourmet shave ice is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity with tourists as well. “It’s a kicked-up shave ice,” Ig­na­cio said. “Even lo­cals get blown away.” Orig­i­nal Big Is­land Shave Ice Co. does not shy away from a chal­lenge and rou­tinely turns to cus­tomer sug­ges­tions to drive ex­per­i­men­ta­tion. Other pop­u­lar flavours in­clude a cool­ing green tea, an en­er­giz­ing coffee, a choco­laty Al­mond Joy and a root beer float shave ice. A Chan­tilly cake ver­sion of shave ice, com­posed of choco­late and a rich, creamy frost­ing, is in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar with lo­cals. Its will­ing­ness to test the bound­aries of shave ice sep­a­rates Orig­i­nal Big Is­land Shave Ice Co. from its com­peti­tors. Cus­tomers are pre­pared to wait in long lines in the bak­ing sun for the chance to cool off with their fa­vorite flavours. “They’ll know what they want, and then they’ll see other peo­ple with their or­ders and will get re­ally con­fused,” Ig­na­cio says. This kind of con­fu­sion is what Big Is­land is striv­ing for — the sat­is­fac­tion that comes from see­ing its cus­tomers’ old favourites con­tin­u­ally su­per­seded by new ones. So, what truly makes a “broke da mouth” shave ice? For Ig­na­cio, it all comes back to fam­ily. “The tech­niques,” he replies with con­vic­tion. “It’s recipes and tech­niques, passed down to me from my mom.” The Ig­na­cios’ love of fam­ily is in­fec­tious and reaches far be­yond the con­fines of their truck. Cus­tomers’ fam­i­lies are drawn closer as well, bond­ing as they shovel Tech­ni­color shave ice into their mouths be­fore it melts in Hawaii’s swel­ter­ing heat.

PHO­TOS BY ALI­CIA GREENWELL / ORIG­I­NAL BIG IS­LAND SHAVE ICE CO.

Orig­i­nal Big Is­land Shave Ice Co.’s food truck.

A colour­ful and tasty ar­ray of shave ice flavours are avail­able at Orig­i­nal Big Is­land Shave Ice Co.

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