Ice cream has been around for over 200 years but our taste buds have changed quite a bit. Paul Couchman, The Regency Chef, tells us about popular ice cream flavours in 1830s Britain.
Paul Couchman: Ice cream thing was massive trend and I love hearing stories about the bizarre flavours they had. One of my favourites of Hannah Glasse recipes where its absolute art.
I think somebody tried to bring back a sort of Parmesan ice cream. Have you had parmesan ice cream before?
Hazel Baker: I haven’t. I’ve had olive oil ice cream and that was weird. But I think pea ice cream would be lovely and refreshing, but asparagus ice cream, hmmmmm asparagus makes some people’s pee smell doesn’t it?! My favourite ice creams are either pistachio and almond.
Paul Couchman: Both of those are really 18th century. Almond is in loads and loads of recipes and pistachio as well because of the colours and the textures and the taste. If you think of macarons in period dramas (we will touch on next time) but it’s one of the things you see in all the sets is the macarons.
Hazel Baker: You mentioned before the combination of currants and rose water, I wouldn’t have said they went together, but how were they?
Paul Couchman: Delicious. You’ve got to be careful with the rose water. You don’t want to overpower it cause it can, it tastes like potpourri.
I was talking to a lady this morning. She was from Iran and they use rose water a lot there and in India as well. Their traditions are still calling on and they use it a lot in food, especially those pistachios being and using food. What we were doing in the 18th century is still happening in food all over the world now. So the tastes are still good. It’s just, we’ve got out of the habit of putting them into our own food. We don’t use rose water much nowadays.
Hazel Baker: I do dry my own roses from the garden and my own lavender; great onto lemon biscuits. Lavender and lemon mmmmmmmmmm.
Paul Couchman: I love those flavours. So good in ice cream as well.
You can learn more about Regency food, flavours, and fashion in our London History Podcast Episode 55: The Regency Cook.
Hazel Baker is an award-winning London Tour Guide and qualified CIGA guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Hazel’s walking tours.