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Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Origins of Ice Cream in a novel set in 1670s LONDON

a sorbet of medlars.....white strawberry ice cream and a dusting of white pepper....pomegranate sorbet.....a ratafia of green walnuts....parmesan ice cream.....(from the Book of Ices)

"The Empress of Ice Cream"  by Anthony Capella

In this novel Anthony Capella takes his readers to the London of Charles II, with a bit of Florence and Versailles added into the mix. London is a city that is still recovering from the Great Fire of 1666. Thorough research permeates this delightful and informative book, from the little details (how the game of Paille Maille became woven into the fabric of London and evolved into Pall Mall) to the intrigues between the Courts of France and England. It is also the time when ice cream is just coming into vogue and he recreates  wonderful concoctions of 'cream ice',  and charts the experiments with combinations of flavours - from the 4 early flavours of cardamom, orange, mastic and rosewater to wonderful frozen dolci.

Take ice cream blended with pineapple, the ultimate in luxury fruit..."I knew, of course, that even in France a single pineapple cost almost as much as a new coach. Here in England, they would doubtless be even more expensive. But they were the epitome of aristocratic luxury. Louis's courtiers built heated pineries at their country estates where the fruit - which was imported from the colonies on the tree, roots and all - could be replanted under glass and ripened. Lesser people hired ripe pineapples by the day at enormous expense, just to adorn their tables and perfume their dining rooms, while only the very wealthy could afford to actually eat one..." (extract from The Empress of Ice Cream)

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