Gelu Italian Ice to raise money for United Way of Mesa County

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Gelu Italian Ice, Grand Junction, Colorado's premier Italian ice vendor, is set to scoop up free dessert samples at the Feb. 9 annual Home Loan Taste of the Grand Valley event.

We're not gonna stop until Gelu Italian Ice is a household name-brand.

Gelu Italian Ice of Grand Junction, Colo., is set to make its debut Feb. 9 at the 13th annual Home Loan Taste of the Grand Valley, an immensely popular community event to benefit United Way of Mesa County.

Thousands are expected to attend from 4-7:30 p.m. at Two Rivers Convention Center. Guests will pay an admission fee for the opportunity to sample several delicacies from top food and beverage businesses around Western Colorado. Gelu, a silky, flavorful, ice-based dessert, is just one of 30-plus vendors who will be at the event.

Developed from a family recipe, Gelu Italian Ice is the perfect mixture of fresh fruit, water and sugar blended into a smooth, refreshing dessert. Gelu is dairy-free, gluten-free, and fat-free and comes in more than 20 flavors.

"We try and source local fruit whenever available and in season. In fact our popular peach Gelu is made with fresh Palisade peaches," said Karin Gookin, co-owner of Gelu Italian Ice.

Founded in August 2013, Gelu started out by hitting the local event and festival circuit with a couple of mobile carts. Since then, the business has expanded with plans in 2015 for a storefront location and more concession carts on the streets.

"We're not gonna stop until Gelu Italian Ice is a household name-brand, until it's the first dessert you think of when you want a sweet treat,'" said co-owner John Nelson, whose great-grandmother provided the 75-year-old family recipe which originates from her native Sicily.

"I grew up eating my Grandma Bella's homemade Italian ice, and one day when I was struck with a craving I asked her for the recipe," Nelson added. The sorbet-like sweet treat was a hit with friends and family and prompted Nelson to try his hand at marketing it to the masses.

And he's not shy about the business' goals: "I'm going for world domination of Italian ice," Nelson said.

Gelu Italian Ice will feature its best-selling flavors at the Feb. 9 event: Lemon Lovers, Pina Colada, Mango Madness, Very Cherry, Blue Bomb, Black Raspberry and Palisade Peach.

Come try some "summer in a cup" Feb. 9 at Taste of Grand Valley. Advance tickets are $13/adults, $10/senior and students and $6 for ages 4-12. Add $5 if you purchase at the door. Attendees will also get a chance to vote for the "Best of Taste" awards. Purchase tickets at area City Markets, Enstrom Candies, Home Loan and United Way of Mesa County.

For more information, visit http://www.geluice.com or check out Facebook page and "Like" the page so you can stay in the loop. Here's where you can find Gelu on Twitter.

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Tracy Dvorak

Karin Gookin

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