The history of ice cream

Man has enjoyed ice cream for centuries. It serves to cool us down in the summer and to pick us up when we’re down so it is not surprising that today the average Brit eats 7.5 litres of ice cream a year. It is also estimated a staggering 90% of Americans have ice cream in their freezers!!!

The early history of this icy victual is unclear. There is evidence that the Chinese combined syrup and snow to make sherbet and that they even had their own official in charge of ice. This knowledge eventually spread to Italy, probably via the Arab traders to be enjoyed by the Romans.

The Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar is said to have sent slaves to fetch snow and ice from the mountains to cool and freeze the fruit drinks. He also built cold houses under the imperial palace to store the ice.

Although some think that it was the Italian Marco Polo who, centuries later, returned from his famous journey to the Far East with a recipe for making water ices resembling modern day sherbets.

These ices, however, are not ice creams. There are reports of the Italians mixing frozen milk with honey in 1560 but the invention of the ice cream as we know today occurred in 1775 in France when it was found that freezing custard gave a delectable dessert. This discovery was soon followed with the first ice cream maker, which was bought by George Washington.

Early ice cream machine
This is a picture of one of the first ice cream makers (ref.1)

By 1922 the first ice cream factory had been opened by Wall’s. The ice creams were transported in carts to our door. Ever since then new flavours, textures and recipes have been dreamt up to for us to enjoy.

Old man with ice-cream van (Ref.2)

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