Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Ice cream making


Recommended Posts

Who were the inventors of ice cream making?

The answer is the Chinese. There is evidence that ice cream making originated in China. Milk was mixed with rice and the mixture was then hardened by packing it with snow and flavored with camphor. However it is unclear when ice cream making first started in China. Ice cream making is said to have originated in China in 200BC during the Han dynasty.

Other sources say that it first appeared during the Tang dynasty. One thing for sure is that frozen desserts were already being eaten by members of the Tang court. So the beginnings of ice cream making in China took place no later than the Tang dynasty. Of course, it is not the kind we eat today. But the concept of ice cream making/eating was most likely borrowed from the Chinese.

When Marco Polo returned to Italy from Kublai Khan's court, he reportedly took home with him the formula for ice cream making. Gradually the dessert spread across Europe and later to America, where it was first produced commercially. This is one theory of how the idea made its way from China to the West.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.



The Evolution of Ice Cream

Ice cream's origins are known to reach back as far as the second century B.C., although no specific date of origin nor inventor has been undisputably credited with its discovery. We know that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. Biblical references also show that King Solomon was fond of iced drinks during harvesting. During the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.

Over a thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. Historians estimate that this recipe evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century. England seems to have discovered ice cream at the same time, or perhaps even earlier than the Italians. "Cream Ice," as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century.

For a link more critical of the popular version, try this


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are some interesting sites.



..." These stories about Nero Claudius Caesar and Marco Polo on their destinations for ice cream had not been mentioned until the 19th century. This suggests that they were invented by 19th century ice cream makers and vendors. The more accurate historical information comes from the modern ice cream as we know it today. A newly published book, by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir, Ices: The Definitive Guide, publ. by Hodder and Stoughton, 1993, ISBN 0-340-58335-5,discusses history that has a record, with the earliest written record as a ice cream-like product being made in China."

The story about Marco Polo bringing home from China the secrets of ice making is most likely myth. The same can probably be said of him bringing to Italy pasta-making from China.

The Europeans were the first to make ice cream that closely resembles the modern day ice cream. The beginnings of ice cream making (mixing milk with rice and freezing the mixture with hard snow) most likely originated in China, and the concept somehow got passed to Europe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...