The ice-cream began as food of the royals, enjoyed by the likes of Chinese emperors and Mughal rulers
The ice-cream began as food of the royals, enjoyed by the likes of Chinese emperors and Mughal rulers

There are few desserts that can elicit quite the same measure of child-like delight and glee like the ice-cream. Not surprisingly, this frozen treat began life as food for royalty. The emperors of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD) are credited to have been the first to enjoy a milk and ice concoction that may well have been the predecessor of the ice-cream today. In the 16 th century, Mughal emperors would send horsemen to Hindu Kush to collect ice for fruit sorbets.

Since then, the family of cool eats have expanded to include popsicles, soft ice-creams, gelato, sorbets, sherbets, and frozen yoghurts. INSIDE takes you on a sweet journey to discover the differences.

Ice-creams Around the World

Where the ice-creams come from often influences their taste. Andersen’s of Denmark, which has outlets at Funan DigitaLife Mall and Plaza Singapura, prides itself on natural tastes. Its award-winning creations are made daily with pure fresh cream and without artificial flavours or colours. Their flavours also reflect their origins – Danish Nougat and Belgian Chocolate.

America’s Ben & Jerry’s comes from Vermont where the number one farm product is milk. This in no small way has contributed to the quality of their product. America is also where the ice-cream sundae was first created and, in many ways, Ben & Jerry’s ice-creams are like sundae creations in themselves because of their generous lashings of sauces, and chunky goodness.

Hokkaido ice-creams are made from milk from that region in Japan which has a higher percentage of cream, making for a richer, smoother taste. At Ministry of Food @ My Izakaya their ice-creams made with Hokkaido milk comes with a medley of accompaniments ranging from fruit to red bean, glutinous rice balls and even cereal. The result is a riot of colours, texture and tastes for ultimate Asian sundae.

Then, there is Middle Eastern ice-creams like Turkish ice-cream which is stickier and melts much slower than the usual ice-cream because of the use of a thickening agent called salep (a flour made from the root of the Early Purple Orchid) and mastic (a resin that creates the chewiness). Persian ice-cream is often flavoured with saffron, rosewater and includes chunks of heavy cream which gives it its distinctive aroma. Shiraz at Clarke Quay’s Persian ice-cream has a nutty flavour from the pistachio and is topped with saffron, nuts and jewels of pomegranate seeds to make for an exotic sundae.

Go with Gelato

The Italians have done such a fine job coming up with their version of the ice-cream that it requires special mention. Italian ice-cream, gelato, derives its name from the Latin "gelatus" meaning “frozen”. Compared to ice-cream which has a minimum of 10 per cent fat, gelato contains less fat (only has five to seven per cent) because it requires a greater proportion of whole milk to cream. Gelato also contains less air (about 25 per cent compared to as much as 50 per cent in ice-cream). The result is a more intense flavour and a denser texture which requires a higher serving temperature.

Gusttimo Gelateria at ION Orchard has over 60 flavours of gelatos, all freshly made. Some of their more interesting flavours include formaggio (cream cheese), which would appeal to those who like the interplay of sweet and savoury in their desserts; and white wine.

For more alcohol-laced gelatos, Bugis Junction’s Gelateria Venezia, offers Bailey’s and Amaretto & Whiskey. Their nod to their Italian roots comes in the creative mascarpone cheese flavoured gelato.

Sorbet Versus Sherbet

Sorbets and sherbets are very similar but for the fact that sorbets contain no dairy products at all. Similarly, sherbets differ from ice-creams because of the milk fat or cream content. Sherbets only have one to two per cent milk fat or cream.

At Stickhouse at JCube, you can have the great fruit flavours of sorbets with the ease and fun that popsicles provide. There are 20 different flavours to choose from with many of them running into the exotic: Açaí (a sort of berry from the açaí palm), Acerola (a type of cherry), Cachi (persimmons), Maracujia (passion fruit), Orange with Cinnamon, Moringa (a plant thought to have many healing properties) with Lime, Mojito (an alcoholic cocktail), and Lemon with Vodka,

Frozen Yoghurt

As its name suggests, frozen yoghurt is made from yoghurt and is, therefore, lower in fats than ice-cream. Compared to the other frozen desserts, frozen yoghurt, which was introduced in the 1970s, is a relatively new kid on the block. But Singapore has embraced the FroYo to such a degree that several different stores have sprouted in recent years.

-18C at The Star Vista offers frozen yoghurts that are gluten-free with no artificial sweeteners, flavouring and preservatives. What gives them an edge is the fact that they also have frozen yoghurt ice-cream cakes.

Berrylite at Bugis+ plays up the nutritional benefits of frozen yoghurt, reminding patrons of the power of probiotics in their dessert to improve digestion and improve immunity. 100 per cent fat free and additive free, this American brand has 50 flavours which are rotated including some rather inspired ones like Orange Mint and Carrot Cake.

On a cone or a waffle bowl; in a cup or a tall glass; on its own or topped with a selection of fruits, sauces, nuts or cream – there can never be so exquisite a combination of ice, milk, cream and sugar than the ice-cream. This dessert has been enjoyed since ancient days and looks likely to outlive and outlast many other sweets for generations to come.

Andersen’s of Denmark
Andersen’s of Denmark

Ben & Jerry’s of Food @ My Izakaya
Ministry of Food @ My Izakaya


Gusttimo Gelateria

Gelateria Venezia