What’s the best bit about the summer, other than the long, hot, sunny days, BBQ’S and fun at the beach? It is, of course, everyone’s favourite – ice cream.
We all know when we hear the ice cream van for the first time of the year that summer is around the corner.
But where and when did ice cream first come about?
According to food historians, ice cream dates back to as early as 3000 BC, with the Chinese producing flavoured ices.
The ice cream we know and love today is said to have originated from Italy in the 17th century, and it is from here that it spread throughout Europe and over to America. In Italy, ice cream was made with either cream or full fat milk, and it was here that a variety of flavours were introduced. Before the introduction of the wide variety of flavours we see nowadays, vanilla was the most popular flavour – as it often still is today
Why do we call it ice cream?
Many centuries ago, people enjoyed summertime desserts. These were made from taking sweet cream or custard and cooling them down with ice, to be enjoyed cold. The colder the cream, the more solid the product – hence ‘iced cream’.
In those days, it was only the rich that had access to this type of food in the summer months, as only they could afford ice – and there was no refrigeration available. Seasonal fruits were the preferred flavour of choice. It was only in the late 19th century that ice cream had become available to people of all social levels in America.
Types of ice creams
Today there are many varieties of ice cream, lollies and ice cream desserts, including many different flavours, consistencies and tastes. From Mr Whippy to Cornish ice cream, Italian gelato to an American snow cone.
In France, ice cream tends to be made with egg yolks, whereas in America, their Philadelphia-style ice cream tends to not have any eggs in. If it does contain eggs, it will only be egg whites.
Below are a few more varieties of ice creams you can find throughout the world:
- Ice cream cones.
- Ice cream sundaes, with many different toppings.
- Donduma – a Turkish ice cream made from mastic resin and salep.
- Ice cream cakes – very popular in North America.
- Sorbet – often fruit flavoured, smooth, sweetened ice.
- Italian gelato – made with a base of milk, cream and sugar, coming in hundreds of flavours often blended with nut and fruit purees.
- Finally, you can’t forget a Mr Whippy with a chocolate flake from your local ice cream van!
So when summer arrives, remember that the ice cream you are enjoying has been loved for centuries before us – and will always hold a place in everyone’s heart.
Try to mix it up this year and avoiding going straight for your normal favourite flavour. Try something different, as nowadays we’re spoilt for choice with hundreds of flavours ready and waiting for you to discover. After all, ice cream has come a long way since the days of flavoured ice in 3000 BC, and no doubt there will be many more developments for us to all enjoy in the future.
Here at Spicers of Hythe we adore ice cream. We just wish we could somehow pack it into our delicious summer and picnic hampers!