The story of ice-cream

Although ice-cream is thought to be a typical Italian dessert, it originates from China. But in those times, it was rather like sorbets today, made of ice and fruits. It had an adventurous journey to Europe, but borderlines could not stop its spreading, and its popularity is still unbroken. Nowadays, only the nominal debates around dosage can cause some puzzling. Apart from that, you can have a scoop, a ball, a lick or a spatula of it with pleasure.

The first ice-cream recipe was owing to Marco Polo, because he brought several ones with him when he returned from his Chinese journey. Allegedly, it was Bernardo Buontalenti, who made the first real ice-cream in 1600 for the wedding of King Henry IV of France and Marie de’ Medici. It was made of snow, salt, lemon, sugar, milk and egg white.


The first stall of the icy dessert was at a café in Paris, and its maker was an Italian confectioner of course. The stall was open during summer and only lemon ice-cream was available. They could meet then the first obstacle of spreading it because its continuous cooling was not solved yet.


Ice-cream arrived in Hungary via Austria, nevertheless certain sources mention that it had already appeared in King Matthias’ court owing to Queen Beatrice. The fact is that the Transylvanian cook book Szakáts mesterségnek könyvecskéje (1698) contains several ice-cream recipes in Hungarian language. The first ice-cream machines were propelled manually, usually by servants. There was a drum filled with the refrigerating mixture of salt and ice holding a smaller drum in which the mush-ice was being stirred. When refrigerators appeared, the earlier impediment ceased and the fear of stomach infection was also gone.

Still some news about ice-cream poisoning occurred, for example about the legendary Jégbüfé (Ice Buffet), which was famous (and later infamous) not only for its waffles and cakes but also for its delicious ice-cream. During the 1950s, the wooden cabinets of the confectionery filled with real ice were stored in the cellar, and the cellar was full of rats, just like everywhere else in the city centre of Budapest. Thus, rat poison got into the ice-cream that caused mass poisoning.
As of the 20th century, the industrial ice-cream production has conquered the market: the artisan technology has been changed by the automated ice-cream fabrication (from ice-cream powder, milk powder, water, artificial flavourings and additives). However, artisan ice-cream stalls have not disappeared either. You can have gluten-free or lavender ice-cream, or a cooling icy dessert from the Albanian bakery, the main thing is diversity.

Translated by Zita Aknai


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