Ice Cream Around the World

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Various of ice cream flavor in cones blueberry ,pistachio ,almond ,orange and cherry setup on white stone background . Summer and Sweet menu concept.

Liz Waid and Adam Navis look at a popular treat around the world – ice cream! This food has a long history and a bright future in business. What is your favorite ice cream?

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Imagine it is a hot summer day. The sun burns down on your skin. You have been working hard. You just want a break. You want something cool to eat. What do you choose?

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Voice 2 

Well, millions of people around the world choose ice cream! Today’s Spotlight is on the history of this special icy treat.

Voice 1 

Ice cream is generally a sweetened frozen food. It is usually made from cream, sugar, eggs, and different flavors. However, there are many different ways to make ice cream. No one knows exactly who invented ice cream. But there are many stories about how it began.

Voice 2 

A version of ice cream may have begun in Persia more than 2,500 years ago. And some stories say that Nero enjoyed ice cream in ancient Rome. They say Emperor Nero would send servants to get ice from the mountains. Then he would cover it in fruit juices and honey.

Voice 1 

The kind of ice cream we eat today may have been invented in China. The Tang period in China was between 600 and 900 AD. During this period, people brought ice cream treats to the ruler. They heated buffalo, cow and goat milk together. After a time, the mix became thick like yogurt. They added flour to the mix. And they put camphor in it for flavor. They cooled the mix in icy water. Then they served it to the Emperor.

Voice 2 

Marco Polo was an Italian explorer. He traveled to many parts of the world as a merchant. When he visited China, he tried many of these ice treats. He even learned how to make some of them. Then, when he returned, he made these iced treats for his family and friends.

Mosaic representing Marco Polo at Villa Hanbury, Ventimiglia, Italy
Mosaic representing Marco Polo at Villa Hanbury, Ventimiglia, Italy; Lotho2, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Voice 1 

Around this time there were also simple treats that were more like sorbet. Sorbet is an icy treat made with ice, sugar and fruit or fruit juice.

Voice 2 

All of these ice cream treats became very popular in France in the 1500s. And it was not too long before they became popular all around the world. Over time, ice cream changed and developed in different ways.

Voice 1 

As you have heard, ice cream was first enjoyed only by the rich. This was because keeping food at such a cold temperature or getting ice from a mountain top cost a lot of money. But, over time, the methods for freezing improved. And more and more people had the money and resources to buy ice cream and keep it cold.

Voice 2 

Today, People all over the world enjoy ice cream. Some studies say that New Zealand eats the most ice cream in the world per person. But other countries eat almost as much, including Australia, Finland, the United States, China and India.

Voice 1 

Ice cream is a big business in many parts of the world. In 2016, researchers estimated that this industry was worth over 68 million dollars US. And it is only getting bigger. Growing markets like Brazil, China, and India are buying more ice cream. Experts estimate that by 2023, the ice cream industry will be worth over 97 million dollars US.

Ice cream in IKEA Hangzhou Qiaosi
Ice cream in IKEA Hangzhou Qiaosi; Y Chen, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Voice 2 

Some studies even suggest that the 2020 pandemic increased ice cream sales even more! They suggest that people were looking for delicious food that made them feel happy. That is ice cream!

Voice 1 

So what kinds of ice cream are these people eating? Let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of ice cream around the world.

Voice 2 

Italy serves an ice cream called gelato. Italians make gelato with milk, water and different flavors. But gelato is a little different from ice cream. There is not as much air in gelato. Gelato is much thicker than normal ice cream. A person can eat smaller amounts because it is so filling and sweet.

Voice 1 

In India, a popular treat similar to ice cream is called kulfi. Kulfi has more ice in it than other ice creams. It is not as smooth. Indians flavor kulfi with foods like pistachio nuts or cardamom spice.

Voice 2 

In Japan, people eat mochi ice cream. First, people shape the ice cream into small, round balls. Then they cover these balls with mochi. Mochi is a kind of sticky rice.

Voice 1 

Some places even have a special ice cream they are famous for. In Ecuador there is a town called Salcedo. In Salcedo they serve ice cream on a stick. They freeze the ice cream in different layers, or parts. Each layer is a different color. So, the ice cream almost looks like a rainbow. There are four layers. Three are made from local fruits. And there is a top layer made of thick, sweet cream. When you drive into Salcedo you can even see a large statue of this ice cream treat!

Typical Salcedo ice cream
Typical Salcedo ice cream; Bbb-Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Voice 2 

Ice cream is also a great treat because you can make it yourself! You can make your own ice cream at home with only a few simple ingredients. This ice cream looks a little different from the ice cream you buy in a store. It is softer, but it still tastes good. Here is how you make it. You can also find this recipe on our website.

Voice 1 

To make this ice cream you need two zippered plastic bags – one large and one small. Fill the large bag halfway with ice and rock salt. Leave enough room in the large bag to fit the smaller bag inside. Then, in the small bag, combine milk or cream and a small amount of sugar. You can also add another flavor, like vanilla or honey. Take all of the air out of the small bag. And make sure you close the bag very tightly! Then put it inside the large bag of ice and salt. Here comes the fun part. Close the large bag, too. Then, shake shake shake! You must shake the two bags together for five to ten minutes. After it becomes harder, remove the bag of milk and sugar. It should now be ice cream. Now enjoy!

Voice 2 

What kind of ice cream is common in your country? What is your favorite kind of ice cream? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at contact@spotlightenglish.com. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Sara DeKoster. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.spotlightenglish.com. This program is called “Ice Cream Around the World”.

Voice 2 

Visit our website to download our free official App for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!


What kind of ice cream is popular in your country?

Make Ice Cream With Us

Recipe for Homemade Ice Cream


1 cup OR 242g half-and-half (You can also use cream or milk)
1-2 Tablespoons OR 12-24g sugar
1/2 OR 2.5mL pure vanilla extract
3 cups ice
1/3 cup OR 96g kosher salt


  1. In a small resealable plastic bag, combine half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Push out extra air and seal the bag.
  2. Combine ice and salt in the large resealable plastic bag. Place the small bag inside the bigger bag and shake well, 5 to 10 minutes, until ice cream has hardened.
  3. Remove from bag and enjoy!



Join the discussion

  • In my country Saudi Arabia the most commonly flavour are vanilla
    They put it with any other flavours
    For example of flavour they eat with the vanilla ice cream togethe is chocolate or with strawberry or with mango
    And actually I love it this flavours so much because it taist so diloches

  • My favorite ice cream is milk ice cream .some omani women .special kind of ice cream it is milk ice cream . it does not have cream only has milk , sugar and some flavors .

  • most ice crean common in saudi arabia is like a ball it made by milk and flavour and sugar its very delictious .
    my favorite ice cream is vanilla and many flavors but most favorite is vanilla and tufy

  • Thank you very much.. Actually, I enjoyed this topic. Maybe the reason I love ice cream. I eat it 2 to 3 times a week. I love it. I still remembered one time I eat it when I was a child 5 years my age. sometimes I can’t eat ice cream when I am sick. Generally, I love it I love

  • Many children, adults like to eat ice cream too much. This is their favorite food because they’re delicious and cool to eat. There are many kind of ice cream to choose such as coconut ice cream, durian ice cream, strawberry ice cream… My younger sister often make the avocado ice cream and banana ice cream for my kids. They are so happy while enjoy them together.

  • The most kind of ice cream in my country is soft ice cream made by machines
    And the most kind I like is pistachios ice cream and recently I tried iced yoghurt is so light and healthy less sweetener

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