Looking for proper ice cream in Manchester?

July is National Ice Cream Month...
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July is National Ice Cream Month – no excuse needed. It’s midsummer and our thoughts turn to ice cream. What better way to celebrate the arrival of a heatwave than an ice cream. A midsummer’s ice cream. It’s the perfect summer treat. It may not cool you down but it tastes good. And if any excuse were needed, by a remarkable coincidence July is National Ice Cream Month in the US.

The Americans have got special days for almost every food, particularly junk food. For example, there’s National I Want Butterscotch Day (February 15), National Candied Orange Peel Day (May 4), and who could forget Gummi Worm Day (July 15). No wonder they celebrate National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (December 30). They probably need it after eating so much junk food.

‘Like most mass
produced foods,
it’s cheap because
it’s made from
cheap ingredients’

But unlike most of the food days they celebrate in the US, we think National Ice Cream Month is definitely worth celebrating over here. (It’s not the only one. We also like the sound of National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day (January 3rd), National Pie Day (January 23rd), National Beer Day (April 7), National Chocolate Pudding Day (June 26) and National Cheesecake Day (July 30).

The US is the biggest consumer of ice cream in the world. Americans eat on average 20 litres of ice cream every year. We eat just nine. We’re not even in the Top 10 ice cream eating countries in the world. There’s only one Haagen-Dazs shop in London and two in Northern Ireland. There are 28 in France and 14 in Germany.

It can’t be because of the climate because the Scandinavian countries all eat more ice cream than we do.

We think it’s because most of the ice cream in this country is not very good. Like most mass produced foods, it’s cheap because it’s made from cheap ingredients. It may look like ice cream, we may even think it tastes like ice cream, and legally it is ice cream because it contains the ridiculously small amount of dairy produce required to be defined as such. But it’s not proper ice cream. It bears about as much resemblance to proper ice cream as a cheap sliced loaf does to proper bread.

This is what the ice cream sold by a popular high street restaurant chain contains:

Milk, Sugar, Cream, Nonfat Milk Solids, Corn Syrup Solids, Mono- and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Dextrose, Sodium Citrate, Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Disodium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate. Yummy.

It’s cheap, but you get what you pay for. Proper ice cream should contain cream, sugar, eggs and natural flavourings. The only additional ingredients it should contain are the bare minimum required to ensure it doesn’t deteriorate from manufacture to sale.

Penelopes Ice Cream Cart

Proper ice cream used to be much more widely available in Manchester than it is now. Most of it was made in Ancoats by first and second generation Italian artisan ice cream-makers and sold from ice cream vans.

You can still get proper ice cream but the choice is limited, particularly since the sad demise of Fresco Freddo’s in 2013.

So we say three cheers for Joe Delucci’s in the Arndale, Ginger’s in Affleck’s and Penelope’s at Media City.

Have we missed any? Do let us know.

VIDEO: How To Make The Perfect Vanilla Ice Cream

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