National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

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June 7th is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Chocolate ice cream is the second most common flavor of ice cream, after vanilla, even though it was created first.

The flavor has been in existence since 1750 BC in Mexico, having been found at a pre-Olmec archaeological site. The Mayans were drinking chocolate around 400 AD. By the 15th Century, the Aztecs gained control of a large part of Mesoamerica and adopted cacao into their culture.  Although Columbus took cacao beans with him back to Spain, chocolate made no impact until Spanish friars introduced it to the Spanish Court.  After the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, the chocolate was imported to Europe, and until 1800 chocolate was a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite.

I won’t bore you with the details of ridding chocolate of its bitterness or inventing a press to remove about half the natural fat (cocoa butter), but these innovations introduced the modern era of less expensive chocolate. A Swiss chocolatier invented milk chocolate by mixing a powdered milk developed by Henri Nestle. Cadbury manufactured boxed chocolates in England by 1862 and in 1903, Milton S. Hershey purchased chocolate pressing equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and soon began the career of Hershey’s chocolates with chocolate-coated caramels. (from Wikipedia and me) (July 7th is National Chocolate Day….or at least one of them)

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Ice Cream Day

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Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. The meaning of the phrase “ice cream” varies from one country to another. Phrases such as “frozen custard,” “frozen yogurt,”  “sorbet,” “gelato” and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles. In some countries, such as the United States, the phrase “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients.

Most varieties of ice cream contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners. In some cases, artificial flavorings and colorings are used in addition to, or instead of, the natural ingredients. The mixture of chosen ingredients is stirred slowly while cooling, in order to incorporate air and to prevent large ice crystals from forming. The result is a smoothly textured semi-solid foam that is malleable and can be scooped. By the way, National Ice Cream Day is observed in the U.S. on July 20th. (from: Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com