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History of Gelato

Modern gelato has roots in Italy dating back to 16th century Florence. To this day, it remains a highly regarded dessert in Europe. In 2016, gelato producers in Italy produced roughly 157 million gallons of the creamy sweet stuff, which is equivalent to about 6.8 billion scoops, according to Bloomberg.


However, there's evidence that indicates China may be the true place where the creamy cold stuff we know today was born.


Some historians believe that around 4,000 years ago, China created the first version of the sweet, iced treat. According to L'Italo-Americano, "the Chinese would freeze, in snow, a concoction of overcooked rice, spices, and milk, the first variety of historically attested gelato." This initial batch prompted more creative experimentation with iced fruit juices — did somebody say fruity gelato? The frozen treat was sold to the public in Beijing via street carts. Side note: Many believe that Marco Polo was the man who introduced gelato to Italy in the 11th century, but it was the ancient Moors that are credited for creating sherbet (or sorbet) in Sicily.


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