A common belief is that Marco Polo brought ice cream back to Italy from his adventures in China. However just like the story of his introduction of pasta to Italy, there are problems with the story. It is generally assumed that either China or ancient Persia were among the first cultures that developed a dessert made from fruit and either shaved ice or mountain snow. However similar discoveries must have been made by numerous cultures that had access to ice and something sweet to add to it.

Evidence does suggest that is was in fact China that made the first so-called Ice Cream makers, using rock salt to increase the hardness of the dessert. These first ice creams were not ice cream at all since there was no milk or cream in it and more resembled sorbet or Italian Ice. Roman Emperors were known to have enjoyed these types of desserts centuries before Marco Polo. So the great explorer may not have introduced ice cream, but Italy does play an important role in introducing frozen desserts including ice cream, to Europe.

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