Ice cream has been around since at least the fourth century.   The Romans would order ice to be brought down from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings.  Ice cream has come a long way since then!  There are enough modern flavors to make your head spin, from basic vanilla to cherry-bacon.  Due to its overwhelming popularity, it is not uncommon to find lactose-free, vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free varieties.  Many classic summer desserts include ice cream: root beer floats, banana splits, and sundaes. For a unique simple dessert, try a scoop of high quality vanilla topped with sliced strawberries and drizzled with top shelf balsamic. (High quality balsamic is sweeter and thicker like honey.)

Then there is gelato, ice cream’s Italian cousin.  Gelato, unlike ice cream, is made with a greater amount of milk to cream and therefore, is less fatty (hooray!) and also denser, which gives this frozen treat the illusion of being more of an indulgence than ice cream.  Another Italian favorite is the easy-to-make-at-home semifreddo (literally means “half-frozen”).  Semifreddo is made by freezing a mixture of cream, sugar, eggs, and your desired flavorings, with no bulky ice cream machine required!

Sherbet? Sorbet?  What’s the difference? Sherbet is frozen fruit and dairy containing anywhere from 1 to 3 percent milk fat from milk or cream. Anything above 3 percent is generally labeled ice cream.  A retro summer classic, the Watermelon Bombe is made using sherbet. Sorbet is generally fruit-based and does not contain dairy.

Another classic, the popsicle was an accidental discovery.  In 1905 an eleven-year-old boy left his soda outside overnight with a stirring stick.  The next morning he woke up to a tasty cool treat!  Now popsicles come in all colors of the rainbow, filled, swirled, pushed-up or with a stick.  Making healthy popsicle at home is easy and affordable!  Simply blend your favorite summer fruits with juice and freeze in Popsicle molds. Add Greek yogurt for creaminess. For adults, try freezing strawberry daiquiris or piña coladas for a fun twist on frozen cocktails!

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