THE HISTORY OF ICE CREAM
There are many theories about how artisanal "gelato" (Italian ice-cream) originated.
There are a few things we do know: for example, in Florence, gelato was the brainchild of two fathers: Ruggeri and Buontalenti. In 1565, Buontalenti was responsible for organising a sumptuous banquet for a Spanish delegation visiting the Duke; one of the things he prepared for them was gelato. Thanks to his knowledge of chemistry, he prepared a mixture that is very similar to that used today to produce artificial ice.
The Spanish spread the news all over Europe and Queen Caterina De'Medici invited the Florentine gelato-makers.
Another version claims that ice-cream was first created, still in Florence, by a chicken-breeder named Ruggeri, who took part in a cooking competition with a frozen mixture of sabayon, cream and fruit.
He later moved to Paris, and rapidly became both rich and famous.
The turning point for ice-cream making took place in 1927, when Otello Cattabriga from Bologna built the first automatic gelato machine. The more recent history is better-known, and the developments of the last couple of decades have led us to where we are today, although at one point in the 1950s and 60s, artisanal gelato nearly disappeared forever.
The onslaught of commercial ice-cream, with its new products and omnipresent advertising, often using stereotypes "borrowed" from artisanal gelato, almost replaced the production of real traditional gelato.