Honey, wine, and mountain ice. Such were the ingredients of the first ice cream served at the table of Roman emperors.
Dairy-based ice cream that we are used to date back to the 17th century, according to the European ice cream association Euroglaces. Today, Lithuanians can claim to be the world's biggest fans of ice cream. They eat an average of 7 litres per year or about one and a half servings per week. With this variety of flavours, it's a surprise they don't eat even more!
Culinary heritage researcher prof. Rimvydas Laužikas says that ice cream became popular in Lithuania in the 18th century: "One of the most famous fans of this dessert was Duchess Alexandra Ogińska, the wife of Michał Kazimierz Ogiński. We know that in July 1783, the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Stanisław August Poniatowski were treated to ice cream in her manor in Siedlcai (nowadays Poland)."
The first ice cream recipes can be found in Wojciech Wincenty Wielądka's cookbook Kucharz doskonały published in 1783. The book describes the intricate process of making fruit ice cream (from cherries, currants, strawberries, raspberries, and sea buckthorn) and features a recipe for ice cream cake. By the end of the 19th century, ice cream became a common dessert.
The flavours of ice cream Lithuanians used to eat include cherry, currant, strawberry, raspberry, and sea buckthorn, orange blossom, rose, almond, walnut, hazelnut, pistachio, saffron, coffee, caramel, and even clove.
The updated map of frosty treats includes ice cream flavoured with smoked mackerel and cucumbers, pine needles and beers. Sounds weird? Don't knock it until you've tried it!
DOWNLOAD ICE CREAM MAP (PDF).