Ancient Ice Cream

“Ice cream is reputed to have been made in China as long ago as 3000 BC, but it did not arrive in Europe (via Italy) until the thirteenth century, and Britain had to wait until the late seventeenth century to enjoy it (hitherto, iced desserts had been only of the sorbet variety)… by the time Hannah Glasse and Elizabeth Raffald were giving recipes for it in the mid-eighteenth century, it was evidently well established. At first, ice cream was simply as its name suggests: cream, perhaps sweetened, set in a pot nestling in ice to cool it down. But before long recipes became more sophisticated, and the technique of periodic stirring to prevent the formation of ice crystals was introduced, and ice cream was set on a career of unbroken popularity. As early as 1821 we find mention of “ice-cream gardens’ in New York….Since introducing ice cream to Europe in the Middle Ages, Italy has never relinquished its lead in this field, and over the centuries the manufacture of ice cream has in many countries been the province of Italian emigrants.”
An A to Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 167)


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