The origin of ice cream can be traced back to at least the 4th century B.C., but ice cream was most likely known even earlier in China and other parts of Asia. At that time ice cream was not really ice cream, but rather ice or snow flavoured with fruit or honey.
First historical references from the 4th century B.C. show that Alexander the Great was known to enjoy ice flavoured with honey. And later, in the first century A.D., Roman Emperor Nero used to order ice brought from surrounding mountains, and have it flavoured with fruits and fruit juices.
In the 13th century Marco Polo brought back a recipe similar to today’s sorbet ice from his travel to China. This delicacy was introduced in the European courts and is assumed to have developed into ice cream as we know it, sometime in the 16th century. In the 17th century ice cream became available for the wealthy consumers outside the nobility.
In the 18th century ice cream was served for the first time in the United States, and in the 19th century the first industrial ice cream production starts in Baltimore, USA, in the year 1851.