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The Rita’s Italian Ice Story
A Genuinely Cool History
As it turns out, people have been enjoying water ice for centuries. This cool treat’s heritage can be traced back to Ancient Rome and Greece where, it is said, people would infuse handfuls of snow from Mount Etna with wines and syrups as a special delicacy. In fact, Sicily is often cited as the birthplace of modern water ice as far as the Western world is concerned. Interestingly, the flavors once preferred in the western part of Sicily are still among the most popular today: coffee and lemon.
Conquering Europe and the New World
Water ice made its European debut around the same time as ice cream—in the second half of the 17th century. But whether water ice was first prepared in Italy, France, or Spain, no one knows for sure. Whatever the point of origin though, the delicious news spread quickly and eventually crossed the English Channel to Britain. From there, it was just a short hop to the “new world” as British and European settlers brought their favorite frosty treat to the fledgling cities on the Atlantic Coast of America. Water ice had officially become an international hit.
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