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A Brief History of Ice Cream

Ice Cream Cone

 When the sun comes out and temperatures rise, it’s easy for us to grab some ice from the freezer or a refreshing ice lolly.


How did people in the past find ways to cool themselves down before the invention of the freezer?





Where there’s a will, there’s a way – and people engaged on a quest to invent technical devices and unique solutions to staying cool in the heat. 

The one invention that everyone loves is ice cream.

Where did it all begin?

The history of ice cream follows the rise of modern civilisation and has been around in some form for longer than you might imagine.

The first ice creams were consumed in Persia, as much as 2500 years ago. It wouldn’t have resembled what we know today, but was instead made from sweetened water, frozen and then broken into small pieces to be laced with sweet toppings and fruit.
This cooling dessert spread throughout the Roman and Greek empires, where it was primarily enjoyed by the royalty and nobility of the day who could afford the rather costly production process.
On the collapse of the Roman empire, the transportation of ice from the mountains ceased and so iced desserts became an even rarer and pricier commodity.

Thankfully, not a problem we have to worry about with Fridge Freezer Direct’s huge range of chilling options and Display Freezers.

We would have to wait until Renaissance Italy before seeing a resurrection of the concept of ice cream. Italy was a powerhouse during the Middle Ages, trading extensively with Asia and the Middle East.
This brought new methods and recipes to Europe. We have Catherine de Medici to thank for introducing the French nobility to the delights of iced dessert. In 1533, she left Italy to marry the French Duke d’Orleans, who would become King.
She brought with her previously unseen wonders such as high heels, cutlery and most importantly, ice cream. The passion for ice cream only intensified, but it still only enjoyed by those who could afford it.
It wouldn’t be until the Industrial Revolution took hold that production methods improved enough to be able to mass produce the delicious dessert. The biggest hurdle to overcome was the problem of continuous refrigeration.

Mass-production begins

1926 saw the introduction of the first electrical freezer. This was the breakthrough that ice cream had been waiting for!
Now, manufacturers could mass produce it, slashing prices and making ice cream affordable to the masses for the very first time. Hooray!
Ice cream was hugely popular in the United States before it took off in the UK. The production and popularity of ice cream in the UK did not truly get going until the start of the Second World War.
After the war, the ice cream industry grew massively, new flavours were introduced, artificial ingredients were added, and prices reduced.

The largest manufacturer and consumer of ice cream in the world is the United States. The ice cream industry is worth many billions of dollars per year with 90% of households indulging in the dessert.


Did you know? The Roman Emperor Nero was so enamoured of sweet iced treats that he ordered runners to fetch ice from the mountains to be delivered to Rome.