Everyone loves ice cream. It might clog our arteries, it might make us fat, nonetheless, it is the world's favourite dessert. In times of depression, recession and sorrow it is the ultimate comfort food. It can take the edge of those unbearable hell hot days of summer.
Although the exact origins of the delightful frozen treat are unknown, for centuries people have enjoyed iced desserts in many parts of the world. Ice cream history is quite obscure but it is safe to say that several efforts made by different people in different places and times resulted in what we know and enjoy today. Here are some interesting facts about the coolest food ever.
Interesting Ice Cream Facts
#1. In the Persian Empire, people would pour grape-juice concentrate over snow, in a bowl, and eat this as a treat.
#2. The Persians also invented a special treat made of rosewater and vermicelli (a type of traditional pasta) around 400 B.C.E. This was something between a sorbet and a rice pudding. The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits and other flavours.
#3. According to legend, Roman Emperor Nero enjoyed icy drinks flavoured with honey or wine. His slaves collected ice and snow from the mountains.
#4. During China's T'ang period (618-907 AD), a special frozen milk-like confection was prepared for the emperors. It was made of fermented cow, goat or buffalo milk, flour and camphor. It was heated, put in some kind of metal tubes and then frozen in a pool of ice.
#5. Marco Polo, the famous explorer (1254-1324), is believed to have seen ice creams being made during his trip to China and brought the recipe back to Italy. This tale was probably fabricated and spread during the Victorian Era.
#6. Another interesting myth is the story of how Catherine de Medici introduced flavoured ices to the French when she moved north to marry Henry, Duke of Orléans (later King Henry II). There are no historical evidence to support this story.
#7. The court of Louis XIV was the first to serve the rare dessert at banquets in 17th century France.
#8. This delicious frozen dessert used to be called “fromage glacé” by the French (nothing to do with cheese) and they introduced new unusual flavorings such as cinnamon, chocolate, bergamot and orange flower petals.
#9. In 1651, Italian Francesco dei Coltelli opened an ice cream café in Paris and the product became so popular that during the next 50 years another 250 cafés opened in the city. The café is still in business today, over 300 years later!
#10. The cookbook of Mary Eales, which appeared in 1718, is though to be the first to feature an ice cream recipe printed in English.
#11. For one gallon of our beloved dessert you need 12 gallons of milk.
#12. About 15 billion litres (3.3 billion gallons) of the delicious treat are consumed every year around the globe, enough to fill 5,000 Olympic swimming pools!
#13. In the United States, every person consumes on average 48 pints (approximately 23 litres) of the world's favourite dessert per year. This is the largest worldwide consumption.
#14. The all favourite frozen dessert used to be called iced cream or cream ice .
#15. For centuries, it was a rare treat available only to the extremely wealthy. The development of ice harvesting and the invention of the insulated icehouse in the 19th century made ice more accessible to the general public.
#16. One single cow can produce enough milk for 9,000 gallons of ice cream during her entire life.
#17. The first mechanical ice cream machine, Nancy Johnson's hand-cranked ice cream maker received a patent in 1843. Before this invention the task of preparing it was difficult and very time consuming.
#18. Lemon was by far the most popular flavor until the 1850s.
#19. Thomas Jefferson was an early ice cream lover. He discovered it during his time in France and brought a recipe back with him to Monticello. There, he made vanilla ice cream and served it to his guests.
#20. President George Washington also enjoyed it. He spend a small fortune (around $200) on the dessert in summer 1790.
#21. The first ice cream parlor in America opened in New York City in 1776.
#22. Immigrants at Ellis Island were served vanilla as part of their “Welcome To America” dinner.
#23. Carl von Linde, a German engineer, invented mechanical refrigeration in 1870. So, now we can enjoy our favourite frozen treat whenever we want it straight from the fridge.
#24. The biggest sundae in history was made in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1988, and it weighed more than 24 tons!
#25. To celebrate the popularity of the amazing icy delight in the United States, July has been declared National Ice Cream Month.
#26. According to the Guinness World Records, The largest scoop was created by Kemps Dairy and presented at Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The delicious strawberry scoop weighed 1,365.31 kg (3,010 lb) and measured 5 ft, 6 in (1.67 m) tall and 6 ft, 2 in (1.88 m) wide. It was specifically built in celebration of Kemps' 100th anniversary. Here's the video of the unveiling:
#27. In the 1900s, Italian immigrants pushed carts through the streets of cities like London, Glasgow and New York, selling cheap frozen street snacks, the so called "hokey pokey".
#28. Allan Ganz, an American, has been working as an ice cream man non stop from 1947 to 2014, that is 67 years. This is the longest career on the profession ever recorded!
#29. French-style ice cream has an egg custard as its base, while Philadelphia-style is made with sugar, milk and cream.
#30. Gelato is the traditional Italian variation. Gelato is made with milk, cream, various sugars, and flavoring such as fresh fruit and nut purees. It is generally lower in calories, fat and sugar.
#31. Sorbet is a frozen treat made from fruit, syrup and ice. No milk or cream is used.
#32. Vanilla is the most popular flavor in the US accounting for 20-29% of overall sales with chocolate coming in second.
#33. Most of the vanilla used in ice cream manufacturing comes from Madagascar and Indonesia.
#34. Chocolate syrup is the most popular topping.
#35. The perfect temperature for scooping ice cream is between 6 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit or -14 and -12 degrees Celcius.
#36. The waffle cone was popularized at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. However, edible cones were mentioned in French cooking books as early as 1825.
#37. The earliest references of "Rocky Road" date to the 1920s. However, there's evidence that combinations of chocolate, marshmallows and nuts were enjoyed long before that.
#38. Eskimo Pies were first marketed in 1921. They are chocolate-covered vanilla bars wrapped in foil.
#39. There is 273 calories in one cup of vanilla.There are 380 calories in one cup of cookie-dough.
#40. The “Brain Freeze” effect is triggered when cold ice touches the roof of your mouth. This causes blood vessels in the head to dilate. This results in a headache caused by eating your favourite dessert too quickly. So, remember to lick slowly. Just savour it!
#41. The delicious frozen treat is technically 40 - 50% air. This is an essential ingredient because it prevents our favourite treat from freezing completely solid.
#42. The sundae was created when it became illegal to sell ice cream with flavoured soda on a Sunday. This peculiar banning took place in the American town of Evanston during the late 19th century. Apparently, ice cream sodas were considered too frivolous to be consumed on the Sabbath. However, some ice cream vendors found a way around this restriction by serving it with syrup instead, calling it an 'Ice Cream Sunday' and eventually replacing the final 'y' with an 'e' to avoid upsetting religious leaders.
#43. The most expensive sundae is the Serendipity Golden Opulence Sundae, sold by Serendipity 3 restaurant in New York City at the price of US$1,000.
#44. The “99” is one of England's classics: a soft scoop in a cone paired with a milk chocolate Cadbury Flake or stick of chocolate.
#45. Fried ice cream is a dessert made from a breaded scoop of ice cream that is quickly deep-fried creating a warm, crispy shell around the still-cold interior.
#46. The traditional Neapolitan had a very specific combination of flavours: three distinct layers, one green (pistachio), one white (vanilla), and one orange (orange flavor). When sliced it immitated the national flag of Italy.
#47. Ben and Jerry’s has a real physical graveyard in Vermont for retired flavours.
#48. Dogs should not have regular people ice cream (even if they like it) since they are lactose intolerant by nature. However, there is a special frozen doggy treat called “Frosty Paws”. Its ingredients include protein, vitamins, minerals and a vanilla yoghurt coating, but no milk, to make it suitable for our canine friends.
#49. The tallest cone ever made was over 9 feet tall. It was scooped in Italy.
#50. Some really weird flavours include garlic, octopus, foie gras, horsemeat, haggis, smoked salmon, pizza, bacon, salt and pepper, squid ink and (I kid you not) breast milk.
That's it, at least for now. If you have any interesting facts about ice cream feel free to add them in the comment section.