Ice cream styles from around the world

Ice cream makes for an ideal summer treat. The popular dish traces its origins all the way back to imperial China where emperors enjoyed a frozen dairy treat that was made by dunking metal tubes full of milk into icy ponds. Since those early days, ice cream has spread across the world, and each country it has called home has put its own twist on the delicious snack. Here are a few of the ice cream variations that you can find around the world:

American ice cream
Made popular by the Baskin-Robbins brand, American ice cream is a sweet treat that can be recognized all over the world. It is made from at least 10% milk fat by stirring (called churning) cream as it freezes. The churning process introduces air into the mix allowing the final result to be fluffy.

This popular Italian version of ice cream is becoming more and more popular in America thanks to the increased number of Italian gelato producers opening shops in the states. The main difference between gelato and ice cream is the Italians prefer a slower churn and less milk fat. With a preference for using milk over cream, Italians are able to achieve a thicker, denser product that is served at a bit of a higher temperature.

Perhaps the thickest of all the international ice cream variations, kulfi is most popular in India and southwest Asia. It is made by boiling down milk or cream much like the process for making custard. The reduced dairy is then flavored and poured into molds to freeze. Since it is not churned at all, no air is introduced to the mixture, making it incredibly dense.

Ais kachang
This frozen Malaysian treat actually has more in common with sorbet than ice cream, given its composition of frozen water rather than cream. It is made with shaved ice and topped with rose syrup, grass jelly and cooked red beans. A truly unique frozen snack, ais kachang is often referred to by its nickname, ABC.

Turkish ice cream is made with the addition of a secret ingredient which gives it a seemingly infinite elasticity. Powdered orchid root added to the cream creates an incredibly stretchy ice cream that is a common sight on the streets of Turkey. Vendors often demonstrate the quality of their product by stretching it from metal rods as people walk by.

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