Your love is better than ice cream.

woman leaning on pink vehicle
Photo by Elisa Guarneros

Still in that summer time groove. It’s getting hot out there, no? The best summer dessert, hands down, ice cream. It’s simple, not difficult to make, and pairs nicely with fresh fruits, sauces and more. So let’s look at a little history, some how to’s and with whats.

History

Ice cream (derived from earlier cream ice) is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It may be made from dairymilk or cream and is flavoured with a sweetener, either sugar or an alternative, and a spice, such as cocoa or vanilla, or with fruit such as strawberries or peaches. It can also be made by whisking a flavored cream base and liquid nitrogen together. Colorings are sometimes added, in addition to stabilizers. The mixture is cooled below the freezing point of water and stirred to incorporate air spaces and to prevent detectable ice crystals from forming. The result is a smooth, semi-solid foam that is solid at very low temperatures (below 2 °C or 35 °F). It becomes more malleable as its temperature increases.

Origins

The origins of frozen desserts are obscure although several accounts exist about their history. Some sources describe ice cream-like foods as originating in Persia as far back as 550 BCE  while others claim that the Roman Emperor Nero had ice collected from the Apennine Mountains to produce the first sorbet mixed with honey and wine. Although sorbets are believed to have been invented in Persia, other accounts say ice cream originated in the Mongol Empire and first spread to China during its expansion.

Expansion

Its spread throughout Europe is sometimes attributed to Arab traders, but more often to Marco Polo. Though it’s not mentioned in any of his writings, Polo is often credited with introducing sorbet-style desserts to Italy after learning of it during his travels to China.  The Italian duchess Catherine de’ Medici is said to have introduced flavored sorbet ices to France when she brought some Italian chefs with her to France upon marrying the Duke of Orléans (Henry II of France) in 1533. One hundred years later, Charles I of England was reportedly so impressed by the “frozen snow” that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula secret, so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative. There is no evidence to support any of these legends.

set of appetizing pancakes with berries and caviar served on table
Photo by kira schwarz

A great list of frozen desserts can be found here for inspiration. I also wrote a good little article on dessert platting a while ago back, check that out as well. Yesterday morning out back on my patio behind Sugar Hill Inn, whilst having a smoke and coffee, I discovered fresh wild strawberries. Nice! This is were inspiration begins. It also flooded back memories of my Grandmothers home and picking wild black berries. Anyway, the strawberries ended up on the menu at Chantrelles, my current venue. A very simple adaptation, strawberry and white chocolate creme brulee. Takes about 5 minutes to make a dozen of these seemingly addictive treats. I could have as easily done a frozen parfait, made ice cream or many other frozen adaptations. There is something soothing, and satisfying about frozen treats, it really defines summer. I hope yours is going amazing! Cheers, and happy hump day!