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Last Updated: Thursday April 28 2005 13:27 GMT

The origin of ice cream

Snowy mountains

An ice-cream-like food was first eaten in China in 618-97AD. King Tang of Shang, had 94 ice men who helped to make a dish of buffalo milk, flour and camphor.

A kind of ice cream was invented in China about 200 BC when a milk and rice mixture was frozen by packing it into snow.

Roman emperors are supposed to have sent slaves to mountain tops to bring back fresh snow which was then flavoured and served as an early form of ice cream.

The King of England, Charles I, is supposed to have offered his chef £500 a year to keep his ice cream recipe a secret from the rest of England.

Ice cream sundaes

The explorer, Marco Polo (1254-1324), is believed to have seen ice creams being made during his trip to China and introduced them to Italy.

Ice cream sundaes were invented when it became illegal to sell ice cream sodas on a Sunday in the American town of Evanston during the late 19th century.

To get round the problem some traders replaced the soda with syrup and called the dessert an "Ice Cream Sunday." They replaced the final "y" with an "e" to avoid upsetting religious leaders.