Now that the weather is warmer, well at least theoretically, we’re beginning to feel obsessed over frozen treats. Ice cream is universal, indeed! From the French sorbets, to the Turkish dondurma and Indian smooth and locally flavored ice cream, taking a world tour just to try as many as you can sounds like the perfect plan. So here they are: 7 traditional ice cream recipes worth dying for!
Who was behind this brilliant idea?
Well is appears that the Chinese elite used to really enjoy their frozen desserts about 4,000 years ago. It all began with frozen syrups, but as they became hooked, they invented a method that could make ice cream before the invention of any refrigerator: “They poured a mixture of snow and saltpeter over the exteriors of containers filled with syrup, for, in the same way as salt raises the boiling-point of water, it lowers the freezing-point to below zero,” according to the History of Food, by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat. The Persians enjoyed it big time as well. And finally, when the Arabs invaded Sicily in the 8th century, the obsession was passed on.
The ice cream recipe was brought to North America in 1744 by Scottish colonists. Nowadays Americans and Australians are the most dedicated ice cream eaters in the world, but nevertheless almost every country enjoys it and adapts it to local culinary inclinations.
Strange, strange flavors, but yet so appealing…
India’s kulfi is very dense and somewhat granular due to a mix of condensed milk, sugar and exotic flavors like saffron and cardamom. Its particularly dense texture resembles custard and it is a consequence of the milk being boiled down to a thick liquid.
Turkey’s stretchy ice cream is definitely unique. This ice cream called dondurma has a similar pliability to taffy. And the sellers always make a show when you pass by. It is made with salep, which is ground orchid root, a substance that gives the ice cream a curious elasticity.
Israel’s halva ice cream will raise your blood sugar to its peaks. As some of you may have heard, or even tried, halva is very sweet, yet irresistibly tasteful. It’s a simple treat made from sesame seeds mashed into a sugar-and-honey paste.
Japan’s mochi is definitely something else. It’s good old ice cream mixed with mochi (a rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain rice). Actually the ice cream is wrapped in mochi, which is dusted with cornstarch on the outside. You should try the green tea and red bean flavors.
Tuscany’s olive oil gelato is made, according to its name, using olive olive oil along with cheese, seasonal fruit and grapes. It’s the creamiest ice cream you’ll ever taste! Italians are very fond of their natural resources and they like to make everything with ingredients bought from their local providers using their traditional products, and this gelato is the perfect example of the efficient Italian cooking.
Germany’s spaghetti-ice is a 1960 invention that basically puts vanilla ice cream through a potato or meat ricer. The resulting spaghetti dish is topped with strawberry jam, which serves as tomato sauce and coconut flakes or white chocolate shavings that stand for the Parmesan cheese.
Save the best for last
Dear reader, here’s something special for you. In case you don’t have a sweet tooth, think again. There’s something called Creamed Cod Ice Cream and it can be eaten at George’s Portobello Fish Bar in London. It looks just like the hot and traditional Fish&Chips, London’s pride dish, but instead of steaming fried fish, it’s actually vanilla ice cream coated with a pepper-vanilla batter and then deep-fried. The chips you see in the picture above are made from potato ice cream. This is definitely a taste to remember.
All you need is sun and an empty stomach. Bon appetit!