We can always have ice cream; it exists all over the world irrespective of the country’s climate, but how about certain flavours? There are the common ones that you can find anywhere, like chocolate, but there are also some that are quite different…
Amongst the most unusual I’ve come across some are really special, like olive oil ice cream; Turkish coffee; saffron and cardamom; pomegranate; goat’s cheese; noodles with peanut sauce; lavender; salted liquorice… I´ve even had fish and chips ice cream made with potato ice cream! Then there’s jalapeño ice cream, which is a rich carmine colour. But don’t be fooled, it’s made from pepper, so it’s spicy.
But where does ice cream come from? Do you know how this delicacy came about? Who invented it?
History tells us that in the year 37AD the Roman Emperor Nero used to drink a mixture of ice brought from the mountains with a fruit topping. This was, perhaps, the beginning of what we now know as sorbet. We also know that by the year 900AD ice cream made with milk was already popular in some countries of the Arab world, like Iraq, Syria and Egypt.
But the Brazilian passion for ice cream would only begin much later, in 1837, when ships brought ice from New York City to Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilians were memorised by these huge blocks of ice that would begin to melt in the tropical heat. So they decided to scratch away at the blocks and mix the shavings with local fruit juices. That was the birth of Brazilian ice cream, in the form of what we nowadays refer to as a “raspadinha” (Snow Cone).
It was at around this time that the first ice cream parlours opened in Brazil. Soon, creamy ice cream was sold in parlours in the city of Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, but under the name of “papa fina” ( a “delicious thing”). And from there it spread to all over Brazil. Today, Brazilian ice cream makers offer a wide variety of flavours, mostly made with tropical ingredients.
If you want to try home-made ice cream, I´ll leave you with a Brazilian recipe that is straightforward to prepare. The main ingredient is condensed milk, which is common in Brazilian cuisine, but can also be found in various countries overseas. This recipe can be easily prepared by children, as a fun and tasty activity on a hot summer’s afternoon.
1 can of condensed milk (397 g)
2 cups (4,0 dl) of fresh cream
1 tub of natural yogurt (200 g)
1 juice carton of your preference (2,0 dl)
Blend the ingredients in a mixer and then pour into a bowl. Place in the freezer for a few hours until it reaches the consistency of ice cream. Mix lightly before serving.