Delectable ice cream in all its forms represents a very p[popular dessert and snack for most North Americans and Europeans.
Ice cream production, and distribution requires equipment, a well-functioning distribution system, know how, and capital. Small-scale ice cream shops only cater to their immediate vicinity.
Kig Tang of Shang (618 – 667 A D) of China is said to have invented a recipe for a frozen sweetened dairy-based dessert. The recipe was eventually recorded by Marco Polo (1254 – 1324 A D) during his travels in the Orient, and brought to Italy. From here enterprising Italian and nobility spread it to many European countries and eventually even to the U S A.
There are many stories about ice cream. Some claim that Macedonian Alexander the Great, one of the greatest commanders of antiquary, who conquered lands as far away as Afghanistan, Egypt and much of toady’s Balkans, was a great lover of fruit nectars that had to be served super-cooled in ice or compacted snow.
Other states that Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar (37 – 68 A D) sent slaves to mountaintops to fetch ice blocks and store them in cool cellars in Rome for his fruit juices that had to be served very cold during infernally hot Roman summers.
Catherine de Medici brought a retinue of Italian cooks along with a recipe for sherbet to France for her wedding to Henry II, the future king of France in 1533.
Francesco dei Coltelli served the first ice cream in Paris in 1660 in his Café Procope, which is still in business.
Supposedly Charles I of England purchased the recipe from the French court in the 17th century and to much acclaim served and “ice cream” as a dessert during a state banquet.
By 1774 a New York caterers started advertising the availability o f ice cream for the first time, and Dolly Madison, the wife of President James Madison, had ice cream served during his inauguration banquet in 1813.
One Mr. Fussel manufactured the first commercial ice cream in the U S A in 1851, and in Toronto William Neilson in 1893 was the first to manufacture ice cream.
Thomas Webb served the first ice cream in Toronto in a café.
Ice cream production may be artisan or commercial.
Most of the ice cream consumed in North America is commercial and composed of milk fat, milk solids, sweeteners, and stabilizers (locust bean gum, xanthan gum, guar gum, sodium alginate, carrageenan. All are plant based and generally used by commercial producers with a wide distribution).
The manufacturing process consists of: blending of the formula, homogenizing, aging the mix, freezing, packaging and hardening.
During freezing, up to 50 per cent air may be incorporated into the mass to make ice cream more palatable and refreshing. The quality of any ice cream depends much on the fat and air content. Flavoring agent quality also contributes to taste and appeal.
Sherbets should contain water, little sugar and fruit pulp; sorbets on the hand must be acid, water or fruit based refreshing coolers with or without alcohol, served in the middle of an extended meal to settle the stomach.
Parfaits contain much less air than ice creams and whipped cream is used instead of milk. They are the richest, must satisfying ice creams and flavourful of the group, generally offered in fine restaurants.
All types of ice creams can be produced at home using a hand crank machine, or even small, affordable electrical ice cream machines now available.
The most popular ice cream flavours in North America are vanilla, all nut flavours, chocolate, all fruit flavours, Neapolitan, cookies and pastries, chocolate chip, coffee/mocha, and some outlandish ones that small producers with a cult following offer from time to time.
The biggest per capita ice cream consumers are New Zealanders (26.3 Litres), followed by Americans (22.5), Canadians (17.8), Australians (17.8), Swiss (14.4), Swedes (14.2), Finns (13.9), Danes (9.2), Italians (8.2), French (5.4), Germans (3.8), and Chinese (1.8).
Italian, particularly Sicilian and Neapolitan ice cream makers are famous for their smooth, refreshing products. Some even open seasonal shops in Germany and Switzerland to cater to local aficionados.
In the Middle East Aleppo in Syria is famous for its thick, unctuous ice creams.
Haagen Dasz was invented in 1960’s in New York and distributed to many states in the union and eventually exported to Canada. It contains a high amount of fat and is one of the highest quality manufactured products.
Wafer ice cream cones made their first appearance during the 1904 St Louis World Fair and were featured by ice cream vendors from the Middle East or bought form Italian manufacturers in New York. Before edible wafer cones, ice cream vendors used paper or metal cones.
These days, many vendors prefer the use of specially designed corrugated, well-insulated cups.