It’s hard to imagine a summer without ice cream, and the July heat makes it an even more enticing treat. Americans consume an average of 23 pounds of ice cream per year and regular ice cream is the most popular of the frozen desserts. American manufacturers now produce over 6 billion pounds of ice cream annually. Whether you are a fan of plain vanilla or more unusual flavors, here are seven fun facts about ice cream you can share with your friends over a cone.
1. Though the origins of ice cream are unknown, we do know that it has existed in some form since ancient Roman times. Alexander the Great enjoyed snow flavored with honey and nectar, and the emperor Nero sent runners to the mountains to gather snow that he ate flavored with fruit and juice.
2. Some historians believe that Tang Dynasty emperors (618-907 AD) of China were the first to eat a frozen milk concoction. It was made with cow, goat, or buffalo milk mixed with flour and camphor. They chilled it by placing it in metal tubes and lowering it into ice pools. Its flavor resembled an evergreen tree.
3. During the Middle Ages, people in south and west Asia drank an icy drink flavored with cherry, quince, or pomegranate. They used the Persian word “sharbat” for it which became “sherbet” in English. This dessert was similar to sorbets or granitas served around the world today.
4. Marco Polo brought back many treasures from his travels in the far East. One romantic story says that they included a recipe for a delicious treat resembling sherbet, which we know was a popular concoction. Whether he brought it or the recipe traveled to Italy by other means, people in Europe had reason to celebrate, because it is believed Italians developed ice cream in the 16th century.
5. Ice cream was originally just for royals in Europe. Charles I of England served “cream ice” at his table, and Catherine de Medici brought ice cream to France when she married Henry II in 1553. Ice cream first became available to the public in France in the late 1600’s when Sicilian chef Procopio Cuto began selling a concoction of milk, cream, butter, and eggs, Italian gelato, at his Paris Café Procope.
6. Ice cream was first recorded in the United States in 1744, and an advertisement in the New York Gazette in 1777 announced that ice cream was available from confectioner Philip Lenzi. Records also show that George Washington bought almost $200 worth of ice cream from a New York merchant in the summer of 1790.
7. Although many say ice cream cones were invented by accident, that’s not the case. Ice cream cones were invented in 1896 by Italo Marchiony, a resident of Hoboken, NJ, who sold lemon ices on Wall Street. He received his patent in 1903. He and other lemon ice vendors had been serving their treats in glass bowls, which the customers were supposed to give back to them, but they often disappeared or were broken. At the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Marchiony couldn’t keep up with the demand for ice cream and cones, too, so he turned to Syrian waffle vendor Ernest Hamwi to help him out. This collaboration made ice cream cones famous.
No matter which culture originated what we now know as ice cream, clearly, it has been popular around the world for a long time. For a healthy twist on your favorite dessert, include Aronia berries. If you are making your own ice cream, you can flavor it with Superberries Aroniaberry concentrate, or blend it into malts or shakes. You can also mix frozen Aroniaberries into your favorite flavor to kick it up a notch. Aronia berry sauce is also delicious on a sundae. The recipe is available at https://www.superberries.com/aroniaberry-dessert-sauce