IT is a tasty treat we all enjoy on a hot day, with over 1.6 billion gallons of ice cream now produced in the USA every year.
But who came up with the sweet icy dessert that has become a firm favourite – and what is its history?
Who invented ice cream?
The first published ice cream recipe appeared in a French cookbook, The Art of Making Ices, in 1700.
However, prior to that, in 1660, the first gelato was sold to the public in Paris in 1660, by a Sicilian man named Francesco Procopio.
Procopio introduced the dish of frozen milk, cream, eggs and butter, at Cafe Procope, Paris’ first cafe.
The first ice cream parlour in America opened in 1776 in New York, and the first advert for ice cream came out in the New York Gazette in 1777.
But it wasn’t until the second half of the nineteenth century, with mechanical refridgeration, that ice cream became a treat for the masses, rather than a luxury for the rich.
In the late 1800s, Jacob Fussell, a milk dealer from Baltimore, began the industrial manufacture of ice cream, so that those who were less well-off could also enjoy it.
Later, in 1958, Dominic Facchino started up Mr Whippy in Birmingham in the UK – copying the 1956 American Mr Softe – with only six pink- and cream-coloured trucks playing Greensleeves.
Other ice drinks and deserts had existed millennia before, but these were more like sorbets or sherbets.
Frozen deserts made with snow first appeared over 5,000 years ago in China, and then in Egypt.
Alexander the Great liked snow and ice flavoured with honey and nectar, and King Solomon was keen on an iced drink or two.
Roman emperors Nero, Claudius and Caesar all enjoyed snow flavoured with fruits and juices.
A recipe for the iced drink, Sherbet, may have been brought from the Far East to Italy by Marco Polo.
Charles I of England had a favourite called ‘cream ice’ delivered to his table in the 17th century.
And Catherine de Medici introduced frozen deserts to France when she married King Henry II in the 16th century.
It is not clear whether these last two royal treats were more like sorbets or ice creams.
After ice cream had become industrial, people got more creative.
The ice cream soda was first made in 1874, and the ice cream sundae in the late 1890s.
No ice cream would have been possible without discovery of the endothermic effect, whereby salt lowers the freezing point of ice so it can freeze other substances.
Early ice cream machines of the 19th century used a mixture of salt and ice to cool the outside of the bucket where the ice cream was mixed.
George Washington is said to have spent 200 dollars on ice cream over one summer in 1790, and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed a baked Alaska that needed 18 steps in its preparation.