In the last twenty years or so, it's been possible to get almost any flavour ice cream that you could think of. It's only older generations who might remember a childhood when ice cream choices were limited to vanilla, strawberry or chocolate! And while you still might find it hard to beat the simple perfection of a vanilla ice cream like the one served at The Gelato Shop at Broadbeach, we love the fact that there are so many choices available today.
The early days of ice cream
You might imagine that ice cream is a relatively modern invention, given that the first artificial refrigeration systems were only invented in the 1750s, with the first commercial ice-making machine being produced in 1854. However, to discover the origin of ice-cream you have to go back as far as the Tang dynasty in China – more than a thousand years ago. Back then, buffalo milk was heated and fermented into a kind of yoghurt. It was then thickened with flour and flavoured with camphor being chilled to serve. Of King Tang of Shang's staff retinue of 2,000 people, 94 were "ice-men", so making this version of ice cream was obviously a fairly regular thing.
While the English first tried ice cream in the 1600s, and that was only a lucky few at a royal banquet, it took until the mid-18th century for the French to start producing a custard-based ice cream, while the Americans didn't savour the flavour of ice-cream until around 1800. Ice-cream machines were first introduced in the mid-19th century in the US and England. These were wooden buckets filled with ice and salt, with a rotating handle. Inside the bucket was a metal container that held the ice-cream ingredients and allowed the ice-cream to be churned into a smooth texture.
In Australia, meanwhile, the first proper ice cream company was Peters Ice Cream - founded in Sydney in 1907, and expanding to bring iced dessert treats to Queensland and Melbourne by 1927.
The range of flavours grows
What made us branch out then, from the modest range of flavours we all used to know to the almost limitless selection you can get today? As with most things in life, it's something that has evolved in response to consumer demand for greater choice. In the 1940s and 50s, Baskin Robbins set the ball rolling in the US, offering its customers 31 flavours – one for each day of the month. Now, in some gelateria, that seems like a relatively modest amount of choice!
Fancy flavours take a hold
Today, you don't just get a flavour, you get an imaginative name too! Check out Death by Chocolate at Cold Rock, for instance – a heady mix of chocolate ice cream, M'n'M minis and a Boost bar. But our favourite name for an ice cream flavour today has to be the Tubby Hubby from Ben & Jerry's. It's a heady mix of peanut butter ice cream, with fudge swirls and sweet and salty pretzels added in. Whether you're the hubby or the partner, it's impossible not to enjoy scooping out a few spoonfuls of this ice cream!
Whatever flavour you're in the market for, you can order with Deliveroo. When you do, spare a thought for previous generations who never had it this good when it comes to ice cream choice!