Here's the scoop: Sunday is National Ice Cream Day

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:14

    Warwick-Twenty years ago, then-president Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month. He designated the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. Well, this Sunday, July 18, happens to be that day. Warwick is home to 15 dairy farms, and as we all know, that luscious milk goes into the delicious frozen dessert we Americans just love to consume. If the taste isn't enough to entice you this Sunday, consider that ice cream is a wonderful source of calcium, something we all need. Here in Warwick there are many choices for even the most discriminating ice cream connoisseur. Pennings Farm Market across from ShopRite has soft serve ice cream, in vanilla, chocolate, and the popular twist. This is a favorite with kids as well as adults. Sprinkles are the favorite topping on the soft serve cone, especially rainbow for the kids. Sundaes are popular, too. Pennings also has a small petting zoo, swings, and a train for the kids to enjoy while parents savor their treat. Downtown, Caffe ala Mode on Oakland Avenue in the Village of Warwick offers hard ice cream from world-famous producer Hershey. The freezer at the Caffe offers everything for the ice cream lover: for the purist: vanilla; for those watching their fat and sugar: low-fat, sugar-free butter pecan; for those wanting something fruity: rainbow sherbet or peach frozen yogurt; and for the decadent ice cream lover: Chocolate Caramel Nut or Denali Moose Tracks. What exactly is Moose Tracks? "It is the most delicious ice cream here," said our eager volunteer taster, 10-year-old Kathryn. Kathryn is a regular at the Caffe's Friday night open mic. "It is chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cups, and fudge. It's the best flavor, especially with hot fudge." Sarah has been scooping ice cream at the Caffe for about two years. She said Kathryn is not alone. "Moose Tracks is definitely the favorite flavor," she said. Take a ride up Route 17A to the top of the hill before Greenwood Lake and you will find one of Warwick's newest and most popular ice cream destinations-The Creamery. Not only does The Creamery offer some of the finest in homemade ice cream as well as an incredible view of the Warwick Valley, it also has ice cream cakes to die for. Kathryn again volunteered to be the taster (it's a tough job but someone has got to do it). Her favorite, hands down: Bellvale Bog. It is not for the casual ice cream fan. "Bellvale Bog is chocolate ice cream with bits of chocolate brownie," said Kathryn. "Yummy." Ice cream is truly a symbol of summer in America. Americans certainly gobble it up. The International Ice Cream Industry notes that the United States ice cream industry generates $20 billion in annual sales. And the amount of ice cream produced in the US is astounding. In 1899, five million gallons of ice cream were produced here. Just 20 years later in 1919, 150 million gallons were produced. Last year, 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts ere produced in this country alone. That's a lot of Bellvale Bog. While ice cream producers are creative with their flavors-take Chubby Hubby or Cherry Garcia for examples-vanilla is still the number one flavor sold, followed by chocolate. Ice cream dates back to the 1600s when Charles I of England wanted a special dessert on the royal table. His chef came up with ice cream, but the recipe was a huge secret. Charles did not want anyone outside of the castle to have it. When Charles fell out of favor with his subjects, the chef blabbed about the secret dessert and it took off. Well, relatively. Considering the poor refrigeration and the work involved in making the frozen dessert, it really wasn't until the 20th century that ice cream became really popular. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had recipes for vanilla ice cream. President James Madison and his wife, Dolley, served ice cream at his second inaugural ball. It wasn't until 1847 that ice cream could be made easily. Nancy Johnson developed the first hand-cranked ice cream maker, which was great for a small-scale operation. A few years later, milk dealer Jacob Fussell looked to make ice cream into an industry. He utilized ice houses and a bigger version of Johnson's machine and started producing ice cream at a factory in Baltimore. Soon, his business spread to New York, Washington, and Boston. The ice cream cone came on the scene early in the 20th century. There are differing views as to who really invented the edible ice cream holder. Italo Marciony received the first patent for an ice cream cone in 1903. Marciony lived in Hoboken and sold lemon ice on Wall Street. in New York City. He sold what were called "penny licks," ice cream that customers licked from a glass for a penny. It wasn't very sanitary so he went to paper cups. Then he had a brainstorm-why not serve the frozen dessert in an edible container! The ice cream cone became very popular at the St. Louis World' Fair the following year when ice cream vendors ran out of paper cups and used waffle-like pastry made by Syrian immigrant Ernest Hamiwi. Whatever the case, the ice cream cone is now 100 years old and more popular than ever. Make your way this Sunday to one of Warwick's ice cream palaces and celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Whether it is soft or hard, cup or cone, vanilla or Bellvale Bog-nothing tastes better on a summer night than good, old-fashioned ice cream.