Ice cream was not really popular in Russia at the end of the 20th century. The ice cream that was available in the Soviet Union, was the real delicious ice cream made of natural dairy products only. Nowadays, one may enjoy a variety of frozen desserts on sticks and in wafer cups and cones, with berries, fruits and nuts, with chocolate coatings and without, etc. There are over 300 sorts of ice creams to choose from. However, ice cream can be very harmful at times.
The idea to make sweet frozen dessert belongs to the Chinese. In the III century B.C. they learned to mix ice, snow and fruit juice. Afterwards, European confectioners added milk and nuts in the cold dessert. They continued experimenting with many other additives such as nuts, caramel, and so on.
Nowadays, there is a trend in the ice cream industry to add bitter, salty and sour flavorings in the product. In Italy, one can taste Gorgonzola and blue cheese ice creams. In Spain, one can get ice creams that taste like gaspacho tomato soup. There is also garlic, mushrooms and olive oil ice cream. In Japan, one may find ice cream with tastes of fish, seaweed, cactus, potatoes and spinach. It is also possible to find even alcohol ice creams in other countries of the world. This ice cream will not make you drunk, but you will be able to enjoy the smell of alcohol while eating it. There is wine ice cream in Italy, beer ice cream in Germany and champagne ice cream in France. Strangely enough, Russia does not have vodka ice cream. This sort of ice cream can be found far away from Russia - in Australia.
Hippocrates was a big fan of ice cream. The legendary doctor of Ancient Greece believed that eating ice cream was very beneficial for human health. Modern medics share the same point of view. For example, if a child hates to drink milk, a portion of milk ice cream can compensate the need in calcium. Milk ice cream is a source of vitamins B and amino acids important for muscles and cells. One of such acids - L-tryptophan - stimulates the production of serotonin, also known as happiness hormone. That is why those who eat ice cream on a regular basis suffer from depressions, stresses and insomnia less.
All of the above-mentioned benefits are typical of the ice cream made of real milk and cream. However, the market offers plenty of desserts made of vegetable oils in which coconut butter is very often used. It is impossible to distinguish between these two types of ice creams judging upon the appearance of the product. One should read the list of ingredients to find out what you are going to eat - frozen junk food or genuine ice cream.
The ice cream produced with vegetable ingredients has a higher content of food additives in it. Producers have to use those additives to beat coconut butter to make it look like ice cream. However, flavoring and coloring agents, as well as emulgators, can be found in practically all types of ice creams produced today. Stabilizing agents are most popular in the industry: ice cream will melt very fast without them.
Try to avoid bright-colored ice creams. Too much color only means too many chemicals. The only exception is probably chocolate ice cream: its intense brown color is created owing to cocoa powder. Price is another important factor that deserves paying attention to. High-quality ice cream can not be very cheap. Cheap ice creams are usually made of coconut butter and a whole list of chemicals.
Fruit ice and sherbets is a special category of ice creams. They contain only 0.5% of milk and vegetable ingredients, which makes them very popular with those people who count every calorie they eat during the day. When buying sherbets or fruit ice, look for the desserts that contain natural ingredients such as fruit puree and nectar. Ice creams made of 100% fresh juice are not available in Russia, unfortunately. Ice cream producers say that such product is very expensive for the country.
Ice cream is most popular in the United States and in Australia. An average American or Australian citizen eats 10-14 kilos of ice cream a year. A Norwegian eats eight kilos, whereas Italians and Germans - seven. Strangely enough, the Chinese, who invented ice cream, eat only 2 kilos of this dessert a year. A Russian citizen consumes 4 kilos of ice cream a year. Russians buy small portions of ice cream, wheres foreigners like large family packs. Russians prefer fatty ice cream known as plombir, whereas Europeans eat light ice cream with vegetable oils and sherbets.
Many believe that ice cream can be dangerous for small children, that it may cause a serious throat disease. However, if you always give your child warm food and warm drinks, the child may have a sore throat after just a drink of cold water. Icy dessert is good for strengthening the immune system.