Ice cream has been a favorite dessert down through the ages. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the origins of ice cream date back to the second century B.C. but no particular persons can be attributed to this date. However, several prominent historical figures such as Alexander the Great, who ruled from 336 B.C to 323 B.C, and Nero Claudius Caesar, who reigned from 54 A.D to 68 A.D, are credited with consuming iced beverages and iced confections made of snow. Alexander was reputed to enjoy snow and ice flavored with honey. Caesar frequently sent runners into the mountain for snow which he flavored with fruits and juices.
I don’t know about you, but I ate snow ice cream when I was a child, flavored with milk and sugar. My mother always made a batch with the first big snowfall, until the government said it was no longer save because of chemical fallout from the atmosphere. Such a shame since snow ice cream is a real treat.
In earlier times, ice cream and ice cream-like desserts were mostly reserved for tables of the wealthy. After all, not everyone could send runners to the mountains to fetch ice in the summer. Nor did everyone have access to ice houses that required frozen water to create the delicacies. Some of the lucky people who enjoyed this frozen dessert included Marco Polo who brought a sherbet-like recipe from the Far East back to Italy. This sherbet-like recipe developed into something that resembled our ice cream around 1600, which was about the time that England discovered ice cream. "Cream Ice," as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century. The Italian Catherine de Medici is reputed to have introduced France to similar frozen desserts in 1553 when she became the wife of Henry II of France.