Growing up on the Mainland, some of my fondest summer memories were going to baseball games and local fairs and getting snow cones. I loved the super sugary syrup (grape, please!) dripping down my hands and face. The ice was just a necessary vessel for the syrup. There aren’t many treats like that for grownups over there, but here in the Islands we have an all-age-acceptable improvement on snow cones: shave ice.
People will debate about where to find the best local shave ice, but in Kailua-Kona it would be hard to beat Gecko Girlz Shave Ice in the Coconut Grove Marketplace. I was over Kona side recently and stopped in for an afternoon snack. So many options on their menu! Not only shave ice, but gourmet ice cream, drinks, house-made mochi, and even popping pearls! I was pleased to see that in addition to traditional shave ice flavors (mango, pineapple, guava, POG, strawberry, etc.), they also make their own 100% natural flavors with no artificial coloring. I went with a trio of natural flavors: Waialua Liliko’i, Yuzu Citrus Sour, and Nuuanu Lychee. With a sweet cream snow cap, of course.
The lovely person who served me also threw in some house-made mochi! I took my beautiful treat to a table overlooking the volleyball court, with the Pacific Ocean as the perfect backdrop. As we all know, there are two things that indicate a good shave ice: the flavoring must hit every sliver of ice, and the ice must be “fluffy” and not compacted. Gecko Girlz exceeded my expectations on both of these elements.
I was so impressed with the texture of the ice that I took several close-up shots with my phone. You can actually see the tiny individual slivers. And the flavors were on point: I could taste each one independently, and when I mixed them together it was a symphony of fruit in my mouth. Next time I’m in Kona, I will definitely stop in. I’m told the Liliko’i Sour is to die for…..