The History of Ice Cream

Ice cream’s origins are known to reach back as far as the fifth century B.C. in the markets of Athens, where ancient Greeks were selling snow mixed with honey and fruits. In the fourth century B.C., Alexander the Great was fond of a mixed iced fruit confection, called “Macedonie”. He had soldiers sent into the mountains to collect snow which was mixed with milk, then flavoured with fruits, honey and nectar, thus making the first ice cream.

Ice cream appeared in China in about 200 B.C., when soft, milk and rice mixture was further solidified by packing it in snow.

In 62 A.D., the Roman Emperor Nero sent slaves to the Apennine mountains to get snow which was then flavoured with nectar, fruit pulp and honey. 

Marco Polo (1254-1324), the great Italian explorer, brought recipes for water ices to Italy from China.

When the Venetian Catherine de Medici married the King Henry II of France in 1533, she brought with her recipes for Italian sherbet. She also introduced France to a semi-frozen dessert made from thick cream, which is akin to our modern ice cream than the Chinese milk ice.

“Cream Ice”, as it was called, first appeared in England in 1630 when King Charles I married Henrietta Maria (grand-daughter of Catherine de Medici), and she brought her two chefs with her from France.

In the mid-1600’s, the use of a combination of ice and salt became common practise in the production of frozen ices. For the first time, in 1660, ice cream was made available to the general public by the Sicilian Procopio who introduced a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs at his café in Paris.

In 1700, English colonists brought ice cream to America where it quickly became a national dessert. Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison included it on the menu of formal White House events.

It was really the Americans in the 1800’s who popularized ice cream, ice cream sodas, milkshakes and the like. The first hand cranked ice cream freezer was invented by Nancy Johnson in 1846. Shortly after, in 1851, the first commercial ice cream plant was established in Baltimore by a milk dealer named Jacob Fussell.

In 1899, August Gaulin invented the homogenizer in Paris, which is used to help develop the smooth texture of ice cream. The next important development was the invention of batch freezer in 1902 by H. Miller in Canton, Ohio. In 1926, the first continuous freezer was made by Clarence Vogt in Louisville, Kentucky.

Italo Marchiony, an Italian immigrant, produced the first ice cream cone in 1896 in New York City. In 1921, Christian Nelson, who emigrated from Denmark to the USA, bonded a bar of chocolate to a vanilla ice cream bar with cocoa butter. Nelson’s creation was the first “choc-ice”. Other products such as ice cream on sticks and other forms of ice cream and sherbet, known as “novelties’, were invented in the USA in the 1920’s.

Ice cream appeared in Cyprus for the first time in 1922 with the refugees from Asia Minor. One of the first teachers of the art of ice cream in Cyprus was the well known Thomas Kemitzis who was the granduncle of Panayiotis Christoforou, one of the two founders of our company.  

The family tradition still continues with great success. In 1965, two brothers-in-law, Panayiotis Christoforou and Panayiotis Papaphilippou, started out in business from a desire to offer the finest quality, all natural ice cream, following our old traditional recipes, based on fresh whole milk, fresh cream, fresh eggs and freshly picked, ripe fruits.

A lot has changed in our company since 1965, but the quality of our ice cream hasn’t changed one bit.