The ice cream according to us

Who invented ice-cream?

Ice-cream as we know it was created at the court of Caterina De’ Medici.

2016.02.10

The origins of ice-cream have been lost in the mists of time: there are reports of ice-based deserts being prepared way back in Roman times. Ice-cream disappeared during the Middle Ages because it was viewed as a source of sin, but the idea of cold beverages continued to spread throughout the Middle East. For the Arabs it was traditional to drink sugared beverages to counteract the heat, which is what led to the perfection of the art of sorbet making.

A major step forward occurred at the end of the 9th Century when the Arabs occupied Sicily: the sorbet laid the foundations for what would later become the ice-cream tradition developed on the island. One of the main examples of this is the lemon granite, which was traditionally prepared using snow obtained from Mount Etna.

The concept of dessert increasingly began to gain a foothold further and further to the North, including in Naples, Florence and Milan. The real turnaround moment came during the time of the Florentine Renaissance. Indeed, when Caterina De’ Medici held a competition to find “the most unusual dish ever seen”, it was won by a Mr. Ruggeri who was a poultry seller by trade and a cook in his spare time. His success was indeed so great that Caterina insisted on taking Mr. Ruggeri with her to France when she married Duke Enrico of Orléans. Thus the idea of ice-cream also spread within France, even thug it remained a dish for the wealthy due to the difficulty of storing ice.

Since then and in many different ways, the pleasure of ice-cream has increasingly gathered momentum amongst ice-cream lovers in Europe and subsequently also in the rest of the world. The invention of the hand-cranked ice-cream machine in the United States enabled the industrial-scale production of a soft product with a uniform consistency. Italy nevertheless continues to be universally recognised as the home of good ice-cream.

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