What is your Favorite Summer Treat?

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and Mariano’s.

I've been battling the "I'm so bored" statements already and needed to get my children out of the house for an exciting afternoon. I decided that a trip to the city was in order for a special summer treat for my children.

However, I was surprising the children this day and told them I had to go to Chicago for a quick errand. I didn't let on that the errand was a special trip just for them. I wanted to break the summer boredom that is slowly sneaking in and have a special summer treat day with them instead.

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My children are so keen they knew as soon as I pulled into the parking garage where we were headed. They all began to excitedly ask if we were going to Mariano’s. I replied that indeed we were and that was the errand. A special treat day for them. I then told them they could pick any summer treat out that their little hearts and palates desired. {I'm so awesome, aren't I?}

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We visited the candy counter because I knew they get their chocolate treats in from a confectioner in Long Grove. I simply had a taste for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and I was treating myself as well. My children had a great time getting a chocolate dipped pretzel, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate chocolate truffles and we were even delighted with a surprise tasting. My son gobbled it up so fast I didn't even get to smell it.

I thought perhaps my children may want to sample a new bakery item, but they settled for their old favorite, Double Chocolate Mousse Bombs. There was only two left, so my daughter decided to try a beautiful Chocolate Chip Bella Cupcake. It was so pretty, I didn't want her to eat it!

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There was so much to select in the way of special summer treats. We looked over all the muffins and pasteries. I decided I needed a couple of Italian cookies for myself. We looked at the bags of speciality candies, nuts and flavored popcorn. My children were really happy with their selections and were begging me to head over to the Vero gelato counter.

Our favorite location to get gelato is at our local Mariano's. Whenever I state that I am off to the grocery store, my children literally stumble all over themselves to race to the car, clamoring at the tops of their lungs which flavor of Vero gelato they are getting this trip. I knew my children were going to get a Vero gelato this day because it is quite literally one of their most favorite treats in the entire world. But I know a few things about gelato as well, so I saved the Vero gelato counter for last.

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Gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream, right? Is there really any difference? Why, yes, yes there is! Gelato has an intense and dense flavor that cannot be matched. Gelato is made fresh in small batches with all natural ingredients and without cream. It is not as cold as ice cream and melts a bit faster, so you do need to eat it fast  . . . or not, you could simply grab a straw and slurp it up as well. It is just tastier all around.

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All the kiddos were ecstatic they were able to get their favorite scoop of Vero gelato and special score for me because we earned another free container of gelato for our next trip. If you shop at Mariano's, be sure to obtain your rewards card to earn free gelato like us!

We headed out to the patio right off the entrance of Mariano's on the second level to enjoy our special summer treat filled afternoon. The view is amazing and we just took in all that it had to offer us while we enjoyed out gelatos, bakery and chocolate goods.

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I don't know about you, but if your children are excited to take a trip to a grocery store, that says something. Mariano's is not simply a local grocer to us. My children and I really enjoy our trips here. I am able to find the best selections of the speciality foods that I cook with and my children are able to get a special treat and enjoy shopping with mom.

My children and I adore Chicago and have begged hubbie to relocate us there.  Since that is not happening any time soon, we will just have to do with our weekly or bi-weekly drives in to the city. We enjoy so much that Chicago has to offer and we love that Mariano's is right across the street from our favorite location. We can literally skip right over to the Lakeshore East store and get a snaffle of our favorite Vero gelatos and enjoy the sunshine of the day. #MyMariano's gelato is the best.

One thing Mariano's and Vero gelato do have in common: you won't be able to resist just one more scoop!

What is your favorite flavor of gelato? Be sure to pop over and see my photo story on Google+. Check out the Mariano’s Community page for some other suggestions. If you are fortunate to have Mariano’s in your neighborhood,  be sure to connect with them on Twitter and Facebook!