There are various legends and history about who invented the modern ice cream first. Very popular is the story about Ruggeri da Firenze, who was very famous in Renaissance era Florence for a iced and creamy sweet dish made with milk cream, italian eggnog (zabajone) and fruits. Its dish was so popular at the time that even Catherine of Medicis wanted it at her royal wedding with Henry of Orleans. The Tuscan-born queen of France brought then others things along with ice cream, like bechamel sauce, foie gras or also the fashonable macarons (or their grandma), creating in this way the french cuisine. Today's ice cream seemed to be a little bit later. We're in Sicily now, in year 1686, when the chef Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli finally managed to perfection the until then still not-so-working creation of his grandpa Francesco, a machine to produce Gelato!
|Voltaire and Diderot eating a Procopio's gelato|
|Vintage ice cream machine|
We've seen that it seems to be an urban legend the fact that the gelato would be a neapolitan creation, even if their gelato is really really amazing.
At the end of the XIX century, the first economical gelateria shops started to appears. Ice cream started to become less and less expensive, and one of the oldest modern days working gelateria in Europe is the Pepino, in Turin, that started its production in 1884, that eventually became the official ice cream provider of the italian Royal House of Savoy. With the creation of cheap freezing systems, the gelato became a mass product, but we'll have the chance to discover the history of the Cornetto, of the Magnum and of the others mythical industrial ice creams in another occasion, since is a really interesting history too!