A Brief History of Ice Cream


You scream, I scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! 
 
Today it is a food enjoyed right around the globe, but in 16th Century Italy, long before ice cream would be available at every corner store, scientists were still experimenting with freezing various substances in the hopes of understanding thermal manipulation, and frozen cream was a relatively new idea.
 
Ice cream has a long history. There are references to iced drinks, and methods of producing them dating back millennia. It is however, an Italian steward working for a Spanish Viceroy in Naples in the late 17th century, who is credited with being the first person to write down and publish a recipe for ‘sorbetto’, today’s sorbet. At that time ice and snow were both hard to come-by and expensive, making ‘iced’ desserts (flavored snow), status symbols, enjoyed primarily by wealthy or royal families. 
 
 
Over time, the cooks working for affluent European families, who like the scientists, were experimenting with freezing liquids such as juice, cream and custard, began serving ‘iced creams’ - literally frozen cream with sugar and flavorings added – at banquets, and so began the fashion for frozen desserts.

 
By the late 17th century Antonio Latini, the aforementioned steward, had published the second volume of his cookbook Lo Scalco alla Moderna or "The Modern Steward", (Naples, vol. I 1692, vol. II 1694), in which some of the earliest recipes for sorbet are recorded, and it should be noted that because of this work, Latini is credited with publishing the first recipe for sorbet using cooked cream, a rather strange recipe for ‘Sorbetta di Latte’ or Milk Sorbet. 
 
We also know that during the last ten years of the 17th century, the first ‘café’ opened in Paris (imagine if you will, a Paris with no cafés!). Il Procope, as it was called, was run by a Sicilian named Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, and served gelato (similar to sorbet), as well as ‘sorbets de crème’ or egg thickened sorbets, to its fashionable clientele.


 
Ice cream seems to have travelled to North America sometime in the 18th century. In 1744 a Scottish colonist who was dining as a guest of the then Governor of Maryland, Thomas Bladen, mentioned a ‘delicious strawberry ice cream’ he had during his visit in a letter he wrote. 


 
Between the 16th century and the end of the 18th century flavored ices, and flavored iced cream remained a treat only the wealthy could afford, however by the early 19th century, manufacturing ice cream had become an industry in America and in 1851 an enterprising Quaker named Jacob Fussell began production of wholesale ice cream out of Baltimore. 

 
Ice cream, like most other production, was affected by the industrial revolution, and there was an increase in production capacity mirroring technological advances. Nowadays ice cream production is on a global scale, with countless flavors and options for the hungry consumer. 
Nguyen Kinh Luan
I love to travel and have taken time to experience life in many countries. I made this website to share useful information with the community. If you have the same hobby, please connect with me. I wish you success! Best regards!
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