Ice Carving: Beyond the Swan Slideshow

Ice as Restaurant Focal Point: Megu

This upscale Japanese restaurant in New York’s trendy Tribeca neighborhood is out to catch your eye and appetite with a flair for the dramatic. Presentation is key here; the vast, high-ceilinged dining room flanks a striking ice sculpture of Buddha, surrounded by rose petals. A new Buddha is carved for Megu daily, and as the day wanes, it melts into its pond of petals. 

Tabletop Beverage Bar: Brilliant Ice Sculpture

Quenching your thirst never looked so good; Brilliant Ice in Massachusetts creates beverage bars of tall columns embedded with colorful fruit or flowers. The carving company's founder, Donald Chapelle, has been carving for more than 33 years and trained with Japanese ice sculptors while working as a chef for Hilton International. He often uses bold chunks of color, supplied by produce, within his work, and his lavish beverage bars are a prime example of the luscious combination of fruit and ice.

Ice as Centerpiece: Creative Ice

Sculptors can make nearly anything happen, and fantasy is alive and well in the art of sculpted ice. Here, Creative Ice in Oregon depicts an undersea scene complete with a seahorse and ice globes filled with flowers. Ice artists can help clients to create memorable themes, from one dazzling piece to an imaginative tabletop wonderland.

Ice for Food Display: Ice Occasions

Flowers are often used in food display arrangements, but why not combine flowers and ice for one outstanding look? Ice Occasions places flowers within ice columns, an ice bowl, and large blocks which hold food. From a single stem poised dramatically within a clear ice column to colorful bouquets that can reflect the theme and colors of a wedding, this is an increasingly popular option in food presentation.

Ice as Serving Piece: Alpine Ice

Sometimes less is more; intricate carving is not always needed for a standout look. Here, crudité is kept chilled in frosty cubes of ice, their simplicity allowing the food itself to be the prominent focus, and the utilitarian purpose of the ice keeps the food looking fresh and appetizing.

Ice Festivals and Food: Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival

If you like to enjoy lots of icy art while eating lots of great food, the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan is just the place to do that. Going since 1950, the yearly February event features not just hundreds of massive frozen sculptures — depicting everything from magnificent structures to finely detailed animals — but also places an emphasis on food, with volumes of regional food choices like miso ramen, scallops, dumplings, and soup curry. 

Ice Restaurants: Chill Out, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

At Dubai’s Chill Out, diners can actually come out of the heat, into a cool place, to have hot food. (Got that?) From utensils to furniture, everything is ice. Don parkas and remain for dinner (there's even soup!) or hot chocolate while taking a gander at ice sculptures of animals and Dubai's famous buildings.  Given its location in the middle of the desert, getting your ice fix here is a surreal experience.

Personalized Ice Sculpture: Trattoria Divina, Hilton Head, S.C.

This Italian restaurant offers a personal ice sculpture experience, the ice sculpture sorbet. Hilton Head restaurant Trattoria Divina gets high marks from visitors for its fine food and service, and bonus points for this creative ice presentation. Fruit and colorful scoops of sorbet are served inside a delicate shell of ice, which both keeps the dessert cold and supplies diners with a memorable finish to their meal.

Ice Dining Décor: Ice Bulb

Décor in ice exists in many forms; some are not central to dining but enhance the surrounding aesthetics. OK, they're not big on privacy, but ice curtains are a unique way to create either a sparkling backdrop or striking room divider, and as a trend have been making their way into weddings and large events. These were done by innovative ice décor company Ice Bulb in California.

Ice as Public Art: Brilliant Ice Sculpture

For Boston's First Night New Year's celebration going into 2012, Donald Chapelle of Brilliant Ice Sculpture created a piece that wasn't centered around food, but  instead had food within it! The piece, consisting of three walls of ice and themed "The Looking Glass," reflected the area's seasonal offerings, including produce, fish, and martinis (!) and consisted of solid walls of ice. First Night is noted for its ice sculptures, but this piece must be ranked as most appealing to the palate.

A Bird to Rival the Swan: Full Spectrum Ice Sculptures

The old standby is always pretty, but we think another bird could give swans a run for their money in the romance department. Full Spectrum Ice Sculptures of Texas has come up with hundreds of custom designs for myriad events; this sweet pair was created for a wedding.