Celebrate International Ice Cream Day

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Ice cream seems to be more popular than ever as a dessert, snack or as a meal at this time of year. Maybe it's the thought of treating yourself to something refreshing on a hot day.

There are many myths about where ice cream came from. The history of ice cream can be traced as far back as the second century B.C., though neither a specific date of origin nor an undisputed discoverer have been identified. Alexander the Great loved snow and ice that had been flavoured with honey and nectar. Nero Claudius Caesar, the emperor of the Roman Empire, frequently dispatched runners into the mountains to gather snow, which was then flavoured with fruits and wine. Some claim that Marco Polo returned with it from his journeys through the Far East. Others claim that it was brought to France by Catherine de Medici when she moved there to wed King Henry II.

Though its history spans worldwide and over centuries, ice cream has made itself the most popular desserts in the world.

A doubt that we all have in common is the difference between ice cream and gelato. Is gelato just a fancier name for regular ice cream?

We all think gelato is the Italian word for ice cream, but there are actually a few differences between the two.

What separates a good Italian gelato from good American ice cream is a soft, silky consistency, intense flavour and the fact that gelato is traditionally made with much less fat.

Ice creams are made for long-term storage while gelato is frozen quickly in small batches. That means it’s much fresher and higher-quality and a truly artisanal gelato has to be eaten within a couple of days of being made.

For Italians, gelato is not only a dessert but in summer it can be a full meal.

In Sicilia, a traditional summer treat is a brioche con gelato, an Italian-style croissant cut in half and filled with one or two, or sometimes even three, scoops of gelato. Perfect for lunch or dinner, right?

Breakfast option?

Affogato. A scoop of vanilla gelato and a shot of espresso. A good start of the day.

Coppa gelato con frutta di stagione. Two scoop of gelato with seasonal fruits; fresh peach and blueberry in summer and spiced pear and apple in winter.

After dinner or as aperitivo?

Sgroppino; an alcoholic mixed drink originating in Venice, Italy, and based on lemon sorbet with vodka, optionally topped up with Prosecco.

And you? How do you like your gelato?

Celebrate Ice Cream Day in the American or Italian way. What’s matter is you enjoying yourself with what your favourite flavour.

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