12 facts about ice cream that you will enjoy reading

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Everybody enjoys icecream, but did you ever wonder how did it evolve into the beloved dessert we know today? Hence we have compiled a list of facts about ice cream to explore its rich and flavourful history.

Let us dive into these 12 facts about ice cream and get a ‘taste’ of its history.

1) Ice cream was first eaten in China

The first ice cream fact in our list really gives an emphasis on the word ‘icy’. The ice cream wasn’t always the creamy and flavourful dessert we know today. In China, around 200 BC ice cream was made by freezing a mixture of rice and milk in snow. In 618-97 AD, it evolved further. During the Tang Dynasty of China, ice cream was made using buffalo milk, camphor and flour. The great explorer Marco Polo witnessed the making and eating of ice cream in China and introduced it to Europe.

A vibrant painting depicting Marco Polo leaving Venice to travel to China- Ice cream facts
Marco Polo embarking on his voyage to China

2) King Charles I of England paid his chef 500 pounds a year to keep the recipe of ice cream a secret

According to legend, King Charles I of England hosted a banquet. It served the most delicious delicacies but the dessert was the cherry, well, in this case, the ‘cream’ on top. His chef apparently came up with a new dish, as you must have guessed it ‘ice cream’. He concocted a dish which was like freshly fallen snow but much creamier and sweeter than any other dessert. King Charles I was delighted with the dessert and he paid the chef 500 pounds a year to keep its recipe a secret and only serve it at the Royal Table.

3) Honey and Nectar was the first ice cream Flavour

Today, we have a variety of ice cream flavours to choose from, they vary from chocolate, mint and even chilli! But in olden times, there weren’t many flavours to choose from. The first recorded flavour of ice cream originated in Rome. Alexander the Great enjoyed ‘snow and ice’ mixed with honey and nectar. Additionally, Roman Emperors sent their slaves to the mountains to gather fresh snow which was then flavoured with fruits and berries.

A picture of man selling icecream by the Thames in London in 1932- ice cream facts
Man selling ice cream by the Thames, 1932.

4) Sundaes were invented when it was illegal to eat it on a Sunday

In the American Town of Evanston, the passing of a blue law prohibited eating ice cream sodas on a Sunday. Considering them to be too ‘frilly’. The ice-cream sellers complied with the law but with a clever twist. They started selling the ice cream sodas but without the soda. The sellers started calling this new variation the Sunday Soda. The ‘y’ was replaced due to religious purposes and it became known as Sundae.

A picture of an sundae- Facts about Ice cream
An Ice Cream Sundae

5) A waffle vendor accidentally invented the cone

In 1904, at the St. Louis World Fair, a Syrian waffle vendor Ernest Hamwi, set up a stand next to an ice cream stall. Due to its popularity, the ice cream started selling out quickly and the vendor ran out of dishes to serve it on. Hamwi came up with a solution of rolling up his crisp waffles in the shape of a cone or cornucopia. This served as a base for eating the ice cream on.

Ernest Hamwi popularized this technique of eating ice cream in a cornucopia through his Cornucopia Waffle Company and, further through his Missouri Cone Company.

A pciture of ice cream cones made of waffles
Waffle Ice Cream Cones

6) The first handwritten Ice Cream recipe is pretty disgusting

Ice cream as we know now is quite tasty and almost all its flavours are delicious. The process of making ice cream is pretty simple and straightforward. This wasn’t the case before. Around 1668, an English noblewoman named Lady Anne Fanshawe wrote the 1st official ice cream recipe.

It’s contents were awful, to say the least. According to the recipe, one has to boil the cream with mace, and if that doesn’t surprise you enough, for flavour, she states to use orange flower or ambergris with sugar. For those who don’t know what ambergris is, it is basically whale vomit!

7) Ice cream Van Law

Remember the familiar tune of ice cream vans and the nostalgia they bring? well, by law, ice cream vans are banned from playing their tunes before 12 noon and after 7 p.m. Doing so otherwise would get them dragged to court on the basis of noise pollution.

8) Astronauts miss eating it when in space

According to NASA, ice cream is one of the 3 foods that astronauts miss most in space. The other two being pizza and soda.

9) Only the elite could enjoy it

Nowadays anyone and everyone can go to the store and get the ice cream they desire. This wasn’t always the case. Till the late 1800s ice cream was a luxury only the elite could enjoy. This was mainly because ice cream required high maintenance for storage and this was something only the upper class could afford. This was way back before the commercialisation and manufacturing of the commodity.

A french caricature depicting noblewomen eating ice cream in 1801- ice cream facts
Noblewomen eating ice cream, 1801

10) There is a Vanilla Ice Cream flavour fruit in Hawaii

You read that right! There is a fruit that grows in Hawaii whose flavour is reminiscent of vanilla flavour ice cream. It is called Inga Feuillei, but the locals call it Ice Cream Bean.

11) July is National Ice Cream Month

In 1984, US president Ronald Reagen designated every 3rd Sunday in July as National Ice cream day. Moreover, the month of July is observed as National Ice Cream Month, so the world can cool off, enjoy and celebrate their favourite dessert.

Additionally, America is one of the top ice cream consuming nations in the world. On an average Americans consume 20.8 litres of ice cream per capita each year.

Picture of women eating icecream at a cafe
Women enjoying ice cream at a cafe

12) Lobster flavoured ice cream!? and other strange flavours out there

The last of our icy-cool facts about ice cream is that ice cream is available in strange and unusual flavours. Once upon a time, it was difficult to find variety in the flavours of ice cream. But now thanks to the evolution in ice cream and in its flavours we have many options to choose from.

In fact, many new quirky flavours are being invented. These flavours, however unusual, are enjoyed by some. Some weird ice cream flavours are horse flesh, pickled mango, lobster, bacon, Cheetos, fig and fresh brown turkey and even includes foie gras. Do you think you can stomach them? I know I sure can’t!

Picture of vintage icecream ad of Baskins and Robbins

Enjoyed the above article? You may also enjoy The Viking Diet- What did the Vikings eat?

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