gelato and candies

The History of Ice Cream

Ice cream is a frozen food which is sweetened and often served as a dessert or just a simple snack. After it is prepared, some people, mostly those in the art of molecular gastronomy, have found out different ways of sprucing it up to make it more tasty, attractive, and marketable.

Such practices like serving it with fruits are part of the evolution of ice cream, which, historically is thought to have existed for thousands of years. Nowadays, the core ingredients of ice cream are milk or cream as the primary ingredients coupled with sugar or sugar substitutes that are combined with colourings and flavorings plus stabilizers. You have to note that people have preferences, factors that have also played a major factor in the shaping up of what ice cream and other variants of ice cream such as frozen yogurt and gelato have become today.

It is actually the preparation method of ice cream that is manipulated to give the alternative product of ice cream with a different name. We take a look in depth at its history over the centuries.

Origins of ice cream

Most of the early civilizations documented their discoveries and inventions, most of which have been passed down generations, thereby influencing the lifestyle of the modern day.

The earliest known frozen food that resembled ice cream was in Persia in 400 B.C. which was made of Vermicelli (similar to pasta) and rose water, which was then chilled and served to royalty. In Greece, around 5 B.C., the locals mixed ice from the mountains with honey and fruits, which was sold in the markets of Athens.

It has to be said that the recipe that has a rather strong resemblance to what we are used to nowadays, originated from China in 200 B.C. and it is what spread all over the world and helped create ice cream. It was a mixture of frozen rice and milk which was filled in containers and then they had snow and saltpetre (a sodium compound like salt) poured around the jars to lower the freezing point to below zero degrees. This recipe was an improvement to that of King Tang of Shang (China 618 – 97 A.D.) who had earlier used buffalo milk, camphor, and flour. Camphor, in particular, was the ingredient responsible for the aroma, and it was extracted from the camphor tree.

With the emergence of the Asian trade routes to the powerful Mongol dynasty at the time, in the lucrative silk trade, Marco Polo (1254-1324) sampled the rice and milk mixture after observing it being made and took the recipe with him to Italy.

In Italy the artistic culture, as well as gastronomy, played a vital role in transforming this recipe and the region is widely acknowledged to be the first to serve sorbets. In ancient Rome (37–68 AD), the then Emperor had ice brought from the mountains and then served with fruit toppings. This encouraged the people of Florence, centuries later, to use sweetened water with flavorings to create the frozen food fondly known as Sorbet.

The evolution of ice cream

Sorbet is still popular today, and its recipe evolved into what is today, ice cream and gelato. Many Italian companies specializing in desserts (100% made in Italy) have taken into consideration how much of essence it is to eat well, and they have invested in a research and development divisions to ensure constant food innovations. You are assured of quality and food safety because there is total traceability of the ingredients processed and packaged, that you can use for your sorbetto, gelato, or soft serve.


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