...for Ice Cream!
Today is National Ice Cream Day, so it feels wrong to let the day finish without first taking the time to recognize this momentous occasion.
According to historians, the origins of ice cream date back to as early as the second century BC. In fact, Alexander the Great was perhaps one of the earliest screamers for ice cream, as he frequently enjoyed snow and ice sweetened with honey and nectar. Then, between AD 54 and 86, Nero Claudius Caesar supposedly sent runners to gather snow from the mountains that he then had flavored with fruits and juices. Over a thousand years later, it was Marco Polo who brought a recipe, for what we now call sherbet, to Italy. Historians suggest that it was this recipe that evolved into ice cream during the 16th century. Yet, it wasn't until 1660 that ice cream appears to have become available to the public. During the next century, in 1744, the first official account of ice cream in the New World was documented. However, it wasn't until 1800 (when insulated ice houses were invented) that ice cream became a commonly enjoyed dessert, and manufacturing ice cream became its own industry.
The ice cream industry in America was pioneered by Baltimore Milk Dealer Jacob Fussell in 1851, and since then ice cream has become a staple dessert for Americans. Personally, I have many childhood memories connected to ice cream. Whether it was eating an extra large bowl of chocolate ice cream on Sunday nights with Grandpa Roger, or savoring a vanilla sundae with Hershey's chocolate syrup (the kind that comes in a tin can) every time my Great Grandma Margie babysat, or walking to "the lobby" at Red Wing Lodge on Leech Lake multiple times per day to enjoy a two-scoop cone of Pecan Praline or Mint Chocolate Chip while on vacation, my memories connected to ice cream are ones I treasure.
I'm certain many of you have your own fond ice cream memories to share as well since the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year. In fact, regular ice cream is the most popular category of frozen desserts. In 2015 alone, U.S. ice cream companies made more than 898 million gallons of regular ice cream. According to Dairy Delivers, the International Dairy Foods Association's economic impact tool, the ice cream industry in the United States contributes more than $39.0 billion to the national economy and creates more than 188,000 jobs in communities across the country. The majority of US ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers have been in business for more than 50 years and many are still family-owned. Curious which existing company has been in business the longest? In 1861, Lewis Dubois Bassett, a Quaker school teacher and farmer, began making ice cream in his Salem, NJ backyard with a mule-turned churn. He began selling his ice cream from a location at 5th & Market Streets in Philadelphia in 1885. Bassetts Ice Cream currently has locations in 8 US states.
Not surprisingly, June and July are the two busiest months for ice cream sales. Vanilla, followed by Chocolate and then Cookies-n-Cream are the top 3 flavors. We are fortunate here in Clear Lake/Ventura to have a number of fun and tasty options to enjoy ice cream with friends and family, with one of the familiar favorites being The Viking Drive-Inn in Ventura. There never seems to be a summer night when the line isn't out the door. My only words of caution, never order a large cone. If you're on the other side of the Lake, the South Shore Sweet Spot offers another unique opportunity to get soft-serve. The extra fun part--the building itself is shaped like an ice cream cone. Yet, if donuts with ice cream are more your speed for a sweet summer treat, South Shore Donut Co. has your hook up near Tourist Park in Clear Lake. In downtown Clear Lake, both Cookies, Etc. and KB Emporium offer hard scoop ice cream in a variety of flavors. Fieldhouse, across from City Park in Clear Lake, has also started making their own gelato, and I hear the Chicken & Waffles flavor debuted tonight! Out on Highway 18, Lake Coffee and Ice Cream is another Clear Lake ice cream establishment, boasting a huge selection of hard scoop ice cream flavors. Hint--buying by the pint is a much better deal. And, yet another ice cream offering in the Clear Lake area is the option that comes to you--the Ice Cream Truck. Other than being available at Thursday's on Main, the truck's familiar tune can often be heard around town as it brings cold treats to area parks and neighborhoods.
Unfortunately not everyone can enjoy traditional dairy-based frozen desserts. At Simply Nourished, we've decided to fill this gap. As parents of a child who is allergic to dairy, we were frequently disappointed when our son was not able to enjoy ice cream with us away from home.
We are currently carrying only nondairy frozen desserts in our "Ice Cream" Cooler so that every option is a "safe" option for those with dairy allergies. We currently carry Coconut Bliss (coconut milk frozen dessert), Cado brand (avocado ice cream) and Mudd (mousse) by the pint as well as gluten and dairy free ice cream sandwiches and bars. And, for those who prefer popsicles, we are carrying fruit flavored Good Pops. Whether you have to be dairy free or not, all of these frozen treats are sure to satisfy your craving for a delicious icy summer treat. My personal favorite is the Cado Dark Chocolate flavor. It truly is as rich and creamy as a full fat dairy ice cream without the animal products. The Cooler is truly a vegan's dream come true as well. Next time you're near the City Park, stop in and check out our selection. Thankfully ice cream enjoyment is not limited to just National Ice Cream Day either. Happy ice cream eating!