When one conjures images of ice-cream, they usually picture a waffle cone or a banana split, the classic American treat. For centuries, people from around the world have enjoyed the delectable delights of this frozen dessert, and have even come up with their own twists and variations. Come join us as we melt you away with our tour of ice-cream from around the globe! Perhaps, it'll give you some inspiration on what to serve up next to your friends and family.
The ultimate summertime treat, halo-halo in Tagalog translates to 'mix-mix.' Halo-halo is a frozen Filipino dessert that's meant to be mixed, or shall I say halo-ed until the rainbow array of ingredients come together in a delicious, slurry of a parfait. Bringing in ingredients from around the world, due to the not-so flavorful impact of colonialism and imperialism, halo-halo calls for leche condensada, red-bean, and shaved ice from its Spanish, Japanese, and American influences.
Halo-halo may be found all over the Philippines, and worldwide at the beloved fast-food restaurant, Jollibee. If you want to make this at home, try your local Asian supermarket for ingredients, and don't forget to halo everything up!
Similar to the sorbet, Iranian faloodeh consists of frozen sugar syrup that is infused with rose water and mixed with thin vermicelli noodles. Dating back to 400 BC, legend has it that faloodeh is one of the first varieties of sorbet! In Iran, this frozen dessert is usually served fresh with lime juice drizzled on top, cherry syrup, and to top these rose-water-infused noodles, chopped pistachios!
In Iran, faloodeh is sold in ice-cream shops in a variety of flavors, such as honey, pistachio, and even saffron! It is also served best alongside another Iranian favorite, bastani sonnati, a unique saffron-infused ice cream that also incorporates salep, an ingredient extracted from wild orchids.
If you grew up on ice pops made from artificial flavoring, feast your soon-to-be mouths on the superior Mexican version, paleta. Although Mexico was not the birthplace of the ice-pop, Mexicans take these sweet treats seriously, with a paleteria in almost every pueblo.
The word paleta roughly translates to 'little stick,' with flavors that go beyond grape, orange, and the nonexistent in nature, blue-cherry. For a mariachi party in your mouth, snag tamarind, maracuyá (passion fruit), or even a jalapeño flavored paleta! Each flavor brings both diversity and refreshing (perhaps, not jalapeño) attributes that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Visit your local Latinx supermarket, or make a pit-stop at your corner bodega for this sweet treat!
Made of rice paste, mochigome, and any type of ice-cream you could imagine, mochi has made strides of becoming a favorite across Japan and the world. Traditionally, mochi is made by first steaming glutinous rice, then transferred into an usu, which is a large Japanese stamp mill, and finally pounded with a pestle called a kine. Watch how these unafraid mochi-makers pound their creation into a delectable sweet treat below!
The literal translation for 'freezing' in Turkish is dondurma, the delicious rendition that is a bit different from its western counterpart. Dense, chewy, and resistant to melting, dondurma contains two thickening agents: Arab gum, known as mastic resin, and salep. Popularly made from goat milk in Turkey, dondurma has another unique bonus in that it's commonly eaten by using a fork and knife!
The next time you're in Istanbul, buy from one of the many local sellers! You'll see them sporting their traditional robes, along with the long dondurma scoop!
On the rare occasion that your appetite makes it far into your Indian food-crazed adventure, you may order the tower-looking kulfi for dessert. Where western ice-cream are egg-custard based, often with cream, kulfi is traditionally made with using only milk that is simmered for hours until it gains a caramelized flavor. Unlike the texture and flavor of ice-cream, kulfi takes in saffron, cardamom, and a variety of nuts! The next time you outdo yourself on your Indian food order, don't forget to make some room to try kulfi.
While Americans scream to 'ice-cream,' Italians scream to gelato. Although gelato translates to ice-cream, these two desserts are not the same. Gelato has a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs, as well as churned at a much slower rate, which incorporates less air into the mix. With flavors as unique and vibrant as the next, enjoy a cup with a cute, tiny spoon for an authentic feel, almost as though you are walking the archaic streets of Rome!
What's more American than apple pie? Probably an apple pie that has a scoop of frozen custard on top! Extra rich and dense, frozen custard has the best of both gelato and soft-serve worlds combined to make this magical sweet treat. While traditional ice-cream is made from milk, cream, or a combination of the two, frozen custard adds egg yolks to the mix to produce a frozen product that is way denser.
First commercialized in Coney Island during the early 20th century, frozen custard is most popular throughout the Midwest; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in particular, has now become the unofficial frozen custard capital of the world!
All the rage a couple of years ago, Thai rolled ice cream, also known as stir-fried ice cream, or I Tim Pad, is made using a liquid base poured onto a frozen pan and then spread, chopped, mixed, spread, again, and rolled right in front of you! Harder and more firm than traditional western ice cream at first glance, once inside the mouth, it transforms into a creamy texture.
Found in malls across the United States, rolled ice cream is easy to find! For the best version, add toppings, along with a drizzle of your favorite sauce!
South Korea 🇰🇷
With a fun spin of things, South Korea's jipangyi makes the waffle cone look out of style. Using a healthy alternative against sugar-loaded waffle cones, jipangyi is made with using a J-shaped corn cone with gelato in its core. Making it much easier to contain drips, especially among children during the summertime, jipangyi is a parent's best shot at keeping their child's hands from getting sticky!
As you can read, there are a variety of ways on how people from all over the world get creative when it comes to transforming this frozen dessert to the liking of their customs and cultures. While you may not be able to travel around the world in search of your favorite kind of ice-cream, you may be able to dive deep into your hidden ice-cream-making talents, or even come up with your own!