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It is one of the most happening topics of conversations during summer. Festivals and contests are regularly organised in its honour in a number of countries. It is adored both by adults and children. It is referred to in many different ways, such as ‘milky delight’, ‘cool happiness’, ‘soft serve’, etc.

Yes, we’re talking about ice cream — a yummy dessert made 03of dairy products such as cream, milk and butter along with various flavourings and sugar.

There are many varieties of this scrumptious frozen treat: gelato, crème brûlée, Eskimo pie, sorbet (fruit purees), kulfi, sherbet, etc., and it’s available in a variety of flavours such as chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, coffee, lemon, cinnamon, apple, mango, cherry, coconut, orange and many more.

The technology of ice cream making is constantly progressing, while the creativeness of ice cream confectioners, as well as ice cream enthusiasts, is inexhaustible.

Ice cream can be truly called an “antique” delicacy, as according to some evidences, it dates back almost 5,000 years! As early as 3000BC, a prototype of the present yum — a dish made of ice and snow, mixed with slices of oranges, lemons and pomegranate seeds, was served at the tables of the royal Chinese court and their nobility. There are records stating that cooled juices were very popular in the palace of the legendary King Solomon, and that the famous ancient Greek physician Hippocrates recommended ice cream for better health.

Alexander Makedonsky was treated with ice cream during his trips to India and Persia. The references also show that the pharaohs of Egypt used to have ice shipped to them, and that Roman Emperor Nero, in the fourth century, kept special servants whose duty were to run to the mountains to collect ice. Moreover, the emperor was so fond of pureed fruit, sweetened with honey and mixed with snow, that he had special cold cellars built underneath the imperial residence to store snow.

The history of ice creams is incomplete without mentioning Caliph al-Mahdi, who, in 780AD, managed to deliver a supply of snow to Arabia on a caravan of camels. Another interesting observation is found in the writings of the Persian traveller Nassiri Khosrau, who narrated that in 1040, the snow for beverages and ice cream was delivered to the table of the Sultan of Cairo daily from the mountainious regions of Syria.

The earliest kind of ice cream, as we know it, is of Chinese origin again, with King Tang being credited as one who had invented a method of mixing ice and milk into flavourful concoctions.

Marco Polo is said to have tasted ice cream during his trip to China and brought the recipe back to Italy in the 13th century.

Another legend says that the recipe for a cold dessert was presented to the great explorer by one of the Mongol Khans.

At that time, only the Italians could prepare the iced masterpieces. Ice cream recipes were considered state secrets, the disclosure of which was punishable by death. Accreditation of skilful Italian ice cream chef to any of the European courts was regarded as precious present.

Charles I, of England, in the 1600s paid his cook Dimarco an extra 500 pounds per year just to keep his ice cream recipe a secret and a treat only for the royal table. However, after the death of the king, Dimarco let the recipe be known to entire Europe.

Ice cream appeared in the Indo-Pak region in the 16th century when Mughal emperors asked their horsemen to get snow from the Hindukush Mountain to Delhi. Mughal chefs later invented ‘kulfi’.

For centuries, ice cream was a “food of the gods” and a “treat for the elite”. Kids and common folk finally got their chance to taste it during the late 1800s, when a number of amazing scientific and technical revolutions took place, making ice cream inexpensive and plentiful for all.

With time, ice cream manufacturing was perfected, with each country contributing its share to make it more delectable. France brought the idea of ice cream cups; assorted ice cream was an invention of the Italians, the Austrians were the first to add chocolate to it, while the first ice cream cone was created in America.

Early production methods were placing the ingredients in a metal container, surrounded by a freezing mixture of ice and coarse salt and mixing them until smooth.

Hand-cranked ice cream freezers came along in 1846 and, in 1851, James Fussell established the first commercial ice cream plant.

Today, ice cream is enjoyed by people all over the world, and is sold in nearly every grocery store. So, how do you like your scoop?