This year marks a tasty new addition to the lineup at Krohn Conservatory’s annual Butterfly Show. Mango Monarch and Great Grape Butterfly are just two of an ever-shifting menu at Chill Shaved Ice
, the first food vendor incorporated into the event that heralds the onset of summer.
Led by owner and syrup-maker Alia Ali, the shaved ice concoctions are all-natural. Ali uses fruit, cane sugar, filtered water and herbs to create “deliciousness,” she says. “I make all the flavors fresh each week,” she says. “We are constantly switching it.”
What started as a hot summer day inspiration last year led to early weekend sales at Findlay Market. Ali, 29, and her husband Gerry Beauchamp, 32, kept busy experimenting with new flavors and toppings. Ali says home-grown mint and watermelon were best-selling toppings last year.
When she got the chance to serve up Chill Shaved ICe at the Butterfly Show, the Toyota auto parts buyer with a finance degree from UC and a master’s from Xavier decided to start her shaved ice business earlier in the season. When cold weather threatened to freeze out demand for her product in Eden Park, she expanded to offer hot chocolate. Now the options outside the conservatory include a few sandwiches, hot dogs and a variety of drinks. Enough, she says, to make a meal, before indulging in a healthy dessert.
As she and her husband expand CHILL, they have had to hire helpers to work the seven days a week at Krohn and the weekends at Findlay. Ali says she hope that Beauchamp, who teaches at UC while prepping for a career coaching high-school football and teaching special education, will take a few weekend days off this summer.
To make that more likely, she is working with Cincinnati Job Corps to recruit young interns looking for culinary exposure and a job. “It’s a good opportunity to work with kids that may not have the access or opportunity,” Ali says. “We want to start building relationships with different organizations that are doing good for the community.
With aspirations of selling her syrups independent of the ice, and with a growing catering and party business, Ali still finds time to teach early-morning spinning classes at LA Fitworks. “It’s been intense,” she says.
By Elissa Yancey
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