Let’s face it. Americans love ice cream. Well, Americans love most sweets — but ice cream seems to have a particularly special place in our hearts. We love to go to ice cream shops and sample the different flavors with tasting spoons. Plus, ice cream goes well with warm desserts, like apple pies and warm brownies, or with fresh, cold fruit. We just can’t seem to say no to it.
In fact, during the average two week period, almost half of all Americans will eat ice cream. And nearly ten percent of milk produced by United States dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream — so much milk, that it almost seems like Americans just can’t get enough ice cream.
But what is it that makes ice cream so delicious? Well, for starters, ice cream contains a delicious combination of milk, cream, sugar — and air! Typically, after the churning process, ice cream contains over 50% air. That air helps to give the ice cream its texture. Gelato, on the other hand, contains about 25% to 30% air. Because gelato contains less air, it tends to be much richer and almost creamier in texture.
Whether you prefer ice cream with 25% air, or ice cream with 50% air, you most likely have your favorite flavors. Here are some of the most popular ice cream flavors:
- Vanilla. While vanilla may seem like a very plain flavor, it continues to be the most popular flavor of ice cream. Aside from being the most popular ice cream flavor, vanilla may perhaps be the oldest ice cream flavor as well. Many historians believe vanilla ice cream originated in Asia in the 14th century and later traveled to Europe and America.
- Chocolate. Of course, if vanilla is the number one ice cream flavor, it makes sense that chocolate would follow as a close second. It is often believed that chocolate ice cream originated almost 400 years ago, in Naples, Italy. In fact, it is also widely believed that Italian immigrants brought chocolate ice cream over to America in the 19th century.
- Strawberry. Strawberry ice cream never seems to disappoint. Whether it contains fresh chunks or strawberry syrup ripples, it is always perfect on a hot day. This ice cream was created more than 200 years ago and was served at James Madison’s inauguration as the fourth president of the United States.
- Butter Pecan. This flavor of ice cream generally contains crispy butter coating and chopped pecans, giving a delicious crunch to the creamy, sweet treat. With a slight hint of toffee flavor, this ice cream has been able to quickly climb to its position as one of the top five most popular flavors.
So, regardless of your favorite flavor, grab a tasting spoon and enjoy some of that deliciously sweet ice cream! Or, perhaps you’re up for an adventure. You could even use that tasting spoon to try out the next top five flavors!