Ice cream is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It may be made from milk or cream and is flavoured with a sweetener, either sugar or an alternative, and a spice, such as cocoa or vanilla, or with fruit such as strawberries or peaches. It can also be made by whisking a flavored cream base and liquid nitrogen together. Food coloring is sometimes added, in addition to stabilizers. The mixture is cooled below the freezing point of water and stirred to incorporate air spaces and to prevent detectable ice crystals from forming. The result is a smooth, semi-solid foam that is solid at very low temperatures (below 2 °C or 35 °F). It becomes more malleable as its temperature increases.
The meaning of the name “ice cream” varies from one country to another.
Ice cream and gelato, based on cream and milk.
Frozen yogurt, based on yogurt or kefir.
Frozen custard, with eggs added to cream and sugar.
Sorbet/slushy, ice pop/popsicle/icicle: Water base. Examples: frozen cola, frozen lemonade, frozen tea.
Sherbet, like sorbet but with some milk added.
In some countries, such as the United States, “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients, notably the amount of cream. Products that do not meet the criteria to be called ice cream are sometimes labelled “frozen dairy dessert” instead. In other countries, such as Italy and Argentina, one word is used for all variants. Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such as goat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes.
Ice cream may be served in dishes, for eating with a spoon, or licked from edible wafer cones. Ice cream may be served with other desserts, such as apple pie, or as an ingredient in ice cream floats, sundaes, milkshakes, ice cream cakes and even baked items, such as Baked Alaska.