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Scream for an ice cream

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ALL MINE! Ice creams are favorites with people of all age groups
ALL MINE! Ice creams are favorites with people of all age groups

Ice cream is hot these days, making cream parlours the new hangout zone

Ice cream is hot! Summer or winter, it is in demand. Selling before melting, cones are being polished off in a jiffy, and scoops are being finished off in what is fast becoming a multi-billion dollar global industry. Not just in the upmarket hotels and restaurants. The age-old popular brands are selling their stuff after dusk too. Even the anonymous manufacturers are raking it in with ice creams.Long gone are the days when the dessert meant a hot steaming gulab jamun or a gajar ka halwa. Or even shahi tukra. Some go in for custard. More, however, are happy with an ice cream. In fact, some guests, believe it or not, even round off a cappuccino session with a chocolate flavoured scoop of ice cream!Today, there is a variety on offer for this innocent indulgence. There are scores of brands and hundreds of flavours available off the shelf in metropolitan India, be it Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore or Chennai. Vanilla is the most popular flavour, followed by chocolate and strawberry. So, who started licking cream iced to perfection? There are many versions but most believe Julius Caesar and the Emperor Nero of Rome were the first ones to mix snow with nectar, fruit pulp and honey. There is another school of thought about the birth of ice cream though. They believe that Marco Polo brought to rest of the world the recipes for water ices from the Far East.And surprisingly, at a time when the youngsters are feasting on pizzas and risottos, here is an eye-opener. As a frozen food item, ice cream contains at least 10 per cent milk fat. And reduced fat ice cream contains at least 25 per cent less total fat than others. And low fat ice cream, still not so easily available in our country, contains a maximum of three grams of total fat per serving of half a cup. Little wonder coffee cafes are feeling the heat. Ice creams parlous are really the new hanging out joints for singles, kids and families. And ice cream remains the best way to polish off a healthy meal. RAKESH KUMAR

(The author is Executive Chef, Crowne Plaza, New Delhi)

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