Food History

Origins and history of ice cream

Around the artisan ice cream many stories were born, some true and others of fantasy, that tell the birth of this food, so particular and loved by all. The pleasure of enjoying a good ice cream is at least three thousand years old and its birth is uncertain.

One of the first historical documents in which we talk about “ice cream” comes from a Greek poet who lived in 500 BC in Athens. The Greeks loved to prepare their refreshing drinks with a little lemon, honey and a lot of pomegranate juice with snow or ice.

If we move to Arabia, we find that every iced drink was already called “sherbet”, hence the Italian word sorbet.

The Arabs in Sicily used to mix Etna’s snow with fruit juices, creating what can be considered the ancestor of our homemade ice cream.

The birth of milk-based or milk-based ice cream is fairly recent. It was born around the year 1565, at the court of Caterina de ‘Medici, in Florence, thanks to the architect Bernardo Buontalenti, known as Mastro Bernardo Delle girandole who made an almost frozen sorbet using snow, salt (for a physical law the latter lowers temperature), lemons, sugar, egg white and milk.

Subsequently, in 1686, the enterprising Sicilian Francesco Procopio, who moved to Paris, inaugurated the “CafĂ© Procope”, still existing, where he created a new recipe for making ice cream sorbet using fruit, honey, sugar, and ice.

Another important step for the production and dissemination of ice cream comes from the United States, where Nancy Johnson, from New Jersey, in 1846 developed the first ice cream maker: a tub full of ice and salt where Nancy inserted a metal cylinder with the dough to freeze which is turned with a crank. Two years later William Young takes care of applying a motor to the tub, allowing a more uniform cooling of the compound. But the real revolution came at the beginning of the 20th century with the introduction of the motorized sorbet maker.

Equally important is the revolutionary invention by Fabbri (already a producer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic syrups) of the first products for the preparation of the most popular dessert in the world. These are compound ingredients for homemade ice cream including fruit pastes and creams that the artisan uses in his recipes by adding milk, cream or water to make his ice cream.

Ice cream has certainly become one of the most popular and known desserts in the world thanks to its goodness and the genuineness of the ingredients used. The artisan gelato has always brought the Italian food tradition all over the world.

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