Apr 4, 2009

Beach Sunset & Ice Cream

As my regular readers know, I love it when I come across people and places with strong ice cream connections.

One place I wrote about last year that seems to abound with ice cream kiosks, ice cream parlors and large ice cream display cones is Zandvoort, a delightful beach resort in the Netherlands. One of the best ice cream display cones I have ever seen was there - a smiling polar bear holding a giant ice cream cone of chocolate and mint choc chip ice cream! Read more about the bear and where I found him on my big ice cream cones post.

If you ever get the chance to visit the Netherlands, especially in the summer months, then Zandvoort is a great place to visit for a day trip or weekend.

The reason for writing this post is that I just came across a fantastic video of a summer sunset filmed on Zandvoort beach. It's a wonderful, relaxing piece with a soundtrack only of what was happening live at the time - the natural sounds of a busy summer's days coming to a close (during which no doubt many an ice cream cone had been eaten!) and the gentle sound of the sea lapping up onto the beach.

This kind of thing is what makes the Internet so enjoyable and such a positive means of sharing good experiences. Let's have more please!

View the Zandvoort video

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Sep 15, 2008

A Strange Little Ice Cream Truck

This isn't so much an article or a story but an opportunity to share with my readers a photograph of what must be one of the most unusual little ice cream trucks ever built. It may not be a standard, self-powered truck but it certainly attracts the ice cream buyers when it's open!

It resides on the beachfront in a little Dutch coastal town and is particularly cute. I suppose it's more of an ice cream kiosk than an ice cream truck as it's not mobile but children just love to flock to it and surround it looking at the colorful pictures and chart of different ice creams and toppings. To be honest, I can't imagine many grown-ups who enjoy ice cream being able to pass this by without stopping to buy one of their delicious cones either!

I don't know who designed it but full marks go to them for endeavour and imagination.

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Jun 27, 2008

Ice Cream Truck - Good Humor Or Mr Whippy

"Slow children crossing" or "Caution children". These are very important phrases that appear on many an ice cream truck stretching from the USA to as far as Australia. Usually on the back of the truck, the words are there to alert drivers to the fact that children love ice cream and often so much so that they'll forget to look out for traffic once they've got an ice cream cone in their hands.

It varies from country to country what the warning actually says - for example, in the UK I've seen: "Drivers remember, children forget" which is really memorable.

Whatever the words, it's crucial for drivers to remember that they were once children and, if they think back, most will probably recall excitement at the idea of the ice cream truck coming down the street. We should seek to preserve that innocent excitement - ice cream is really great fun after all.

The sound of the ice cream truck's unique musical jingle, followed by the sight of the colorful truck coming down the street are strong memories for me as a child. Sometimes the ice cream truck would be different (maybe the other broke down or a different ice cream vendor took over the route), but it didn't matter - the truck was always a colorful vehicle and the ice cream always tasted great!

In the USA, the old 'Good Humor' ice cream trucks of the 1960's became part of American popular culture. In the UK the equivalent was 'Mr Whippy' (as seen in the Beatles movie 'Help'). British style ice cream trucks are also popular in other countries, especially where there is a tradition of a strong ex-patriate community. Hong Kong is a good example - on Hong Kong island there's often one parked near the Star Ferry terminal. Out in the Far East, some countries opt for a different motorized way of selling ice cream - in Thailand for example, you'll see ice cream sold from a specially modified motorcyle that has a special sidecar 'freezer'.

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Jun 15, 2008

Country Estate Strawberries & Late Night Ice Cream

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy strawberries and ice cream - together or separately - and I have two nice little 'country' stories on these topics I'd like to share with you.

Strawberries At An Irish Ancestral Home
Ballywalter Park (N. Ireland) is the ancestral home of the Mulholland family (Lord Dunleath). Beautiful interiors and an intriguing history draw many visitors (by appointment only) but the estate offers another strong attraction, especially in the summer months - strawberries. Top restaurants and supermarket chains take delivery of a large proportion of the estate's strawberries but from mid/late June to early August there is the opportunity to 'pick your own strawberries'. Strawberries are so important to Ballywalter Park that the current owners have compiled "The Ballywalter Park Strawberry Cook Book". At present, the book is only available from the estate's 'pick your own shop' but if it comes available online I will let you know. Sounds mouth watering!

Late Night Ice Cream & A Grand Party In The Country
Recently a friend of mine was invited to a "very grand" marquee party in Cumbria close to the Scottish Border. It was a combined celebration of birthdays - 19th, 21st and a 50th - so the age group of the "party goers" was quite broad. For the party's theme the hosts chose "Snow and Ice". Bearing in mind this was an early summer event, such a theme was a bold idea. However, the hosts did their homework well and delivered an apparently fabulous party enjoyed by all. The marquee resembled a winter garden and there were even statues (human ones) posing as if in a winter setting. To cap it all - and this is what really appealed to me - an ice cream truck appeared around midnight serving ice cream cones for all the guests! As my friend said "I guess no-one is ever too young or too old for ice cream".

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Jan 11, 2008

Animals Love Ice Cream Too!

We know that humans love ice cream - but what about animals? I already knew from my own experience as a child that dogs love ice cream (not that it's good for them to eat too much of course) because my Yorkshire Terrier Josie and I would often share an ice cream cone together - I would eat the main part and break the bottom off for her as a mini cone with a little scoop of the ice cream in it! My Mum's pet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Holly, also had a great fondness for ice cream and a friend once told me about her cat having the same passion .. but what about other animals?

I decided to do some research and was amazed at what I found. There are clearly many, many people whose pets love ice cream; from dogs of all kinds and sizes to cats but also rabbits, horses and even birds! Not only that, but the way in which these animals eat ice cream varies enormously. Some cats refuse to eat ice cream directly and insist on using a paw to scoop it up - a bit like when we humans use a plastic ice cream spoon to eat out of an ice cream tub!

I came across some great video clips of animals eating ice cream, some of which are really delightful and funny - if you're interested in looking at them there's a dedicated page on ice-cream-recipes.com called animals eating ice cream.

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Jul 15, 2007

National Ice Cream Day Is Here!

Yes, it's finally here - Sunday 15 July 2007 and National Ice Cream Day. Whatever you're planning to do today, try and join in the celebration of all things ice cream. Here are a few ideas that might just make your day that bit extra special ....

Let's not forget people less fortunate too - like those who are in hospital today. May ice cream be on the menu for you to enjoy as well. My son got out of hospital a couple of days ago and whilst he was there ice cream was on the menu every single day! The nurses told me how it's always a winner with children, bringing smiles to young faces when they've been through a rough time.

Thank you President Reagan for recognizing the value of ice cream beyond being just a food. It's much, much more than that!

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May 30, 2007

The Ultimate Ice Cream Sundae

A few days ago I was browsing through the hundreds of photos we've taken over the years for ice-cream-recipes.com - everything from a vanilla ice cream cone with sprinkles to fresh mint leaves just picked from our garden to a chocolate ice cream sandwich which I made and my husband promptly ate the moment we finished the shoot! But there was one section of photos I was drawn to looking at over and over again - the ice cream sundaes. Then I sat back and got to thinking why is that?

What is the appeal of an ice cream sundae?

  • Color - this is what makes an ice cream sundae a feast for the eyes, not just the palate. Choose from succulent red ripe strawberries, rich dark blue fresh blueberries, creamy orange peaches, rich brown chocolate sauce ... oh, the list goes on!

  • Texture - more sensations for the palate - from the smoothness of fresh, whipped cream to the crunchy nuttiness of a great fan wafer to the inimitable texture of the ice cream itself and then the chunkiness of fruits and other ingredients as you spoon your way down the sundae!

  • Taste - the combination of ice cream, cream, fruits, toppings and sauces is as exciting a taste experience as any you'll find.

So what are the world's favorite ice cream sundaes? Until I get the opportunity to run a poll for this on the site, here are my suggestions for the main contenders:

The most expensive ice cream sundae in the world is currently served at Serendipity 3 in New York - called the "Serendipity Golden Opulence Sundae" it costs $1,000 and requires a minimum 48 hours advance notice to prepare. Ingredients include a very special vanilla bean ice cream, a rare chocolate and 23 carat edible gold leaf. For more details see Wikipedia's page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundae#Hot_fudge_sundae

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May 4, 2007

Ice Cream Cone Origins & Popularity

Anyone who enjoys ice cream will have had an ice cream cone at some point in their lives and if, like me, you make your own homemade ice cream, a cone is a great way of serving up a treat for the family.

But do you know where the cone originated?
The history of the ice cream cone goes back about a hundred years; a US patent for something along the lines of an ice cream cone was issued in late 1903 and only a few months later a waffle maker/seller at the St. Louis Fair is credited with 'inventing' a cone from waffles that he made and sold. So the ice cream cone has been around a long time.

And why is the ice cream cone still so popular?
Probably because it's so versatile. You can walk around eating your ice cream with a cone (no need for a dish and spoon!), you can add different flavored scoops, you can add ice cream toppings such as sprinkles or sauces which make both the ice cream and the cone taste better. The cones themselves are also available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and even flavors. Some you can buy ready dipped in chocolate!

Read more about the ice cream cone on my dedicated page - ice cream cones
Wikipedia also has an interesting page on the history of the ice cream cone.

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