Looking to the past for new ice cream flavors

ice cream 

Ice cream is a treat enjoyed all over the world. Once reserved for only the wealthy, today it is available to people from all walks of life. While stalwart flavors like vanilla and chocolate are the most-often consumed, new taste creations draw the interest of aficionados. While many ice cream innovators look to other cultures or to the savory side of the kitchen to develop new flavors, one small-batch baker is using a novel source for inspiration

Hannah Spiegelman draws on historical people and places, interpreting them through ice cream on her blog  A Sweet History and her Instagram feed, plus an occasional pop-up stand. Her unique flavors are inspired by historical figures and events, art history, mythology, and even astrology. “I’ve always liked looking at history from a visual standpoint,” she says.

Spiegelman’s interest in history is more than just a passing pursuit; she recently completed a degree in history from Baltimore’s Goucher College. Although she had been making ice cream for years, it was only recently that she combined her two passions. As an example of how she marries history with ice cream, consider the ice cream she named Persephone: Charcoal Ice Cream with Pomegranate Swirl and Chocolate Sourdough Breadcrumbs. Spiegelman expains the combination: “I used charcoal for the base to represent the darkness of the underworld,” she says, “and the breadcrumbs are symbolic of the sheaves of grain Persephone is often depicted holding.” The pomegranate seeds, of course, come straight from the Greek myth. 

While Spiegelman is headed to graduate school this fall, she plans to keep up her blog and continue to research historical events for inspiration for her flavors. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that her passion will also lead to a cookbook. 

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