National Ice Cream Month
Ice cream’s origins reach as far as the second century B.C., and some historians claim that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. Biblical references also show that King Solomon was fond of iced drinks; and during the time of the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.
Most historians agree that Marco Polo returned to Italy from China in the 13th century with a recipe that closely resembles what is now called sherbet. It is believed this recipe and the know-how of freezing things by combining of ice and salt evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century. Ice cream is defined as a frozen dessert, usually made from dairy products, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavors.
“Cream ice,” as it was called, appeared at the table of Charles 1 of England during the 17th century, and ice cream was made public in 1660. The Sicilian Procopio introduced a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs at Café Procope, the first café in Paris. In England cookery books began including recipes for ice cream, and a 1718 cookbook advising ice cream makers to use one container for the cream mixture and a second, larger one for the ice and salt.
The first official account of ice cream in the New World comes in a letter dated 1744 written by a Virginian, William Black. He had been a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen who served ice cream as a dessert. This is the same year the Oxford English Dictionary first defined ice cream.