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August 2017

Stay Cool With These Summer Treats From Around the World

These frozen desserts are so hot right now

Now in the middle of summer, many people around the world are enjoying/suffering the heat. Whether you’re looking to relax or stay cool for your own sanity, a refreshingly cold treat can always help. But don’t settle for ice cream alone. Today we’ll take a look at delicious summer variations from around the world.

Heiss und Eis (Germany)

Heiss und Eis ("hot and ice") is an ice cream dessert served with warm fruit sauce. Incredibly quick and easy to prepare, an easy home recipe might call for canned or frozen fruit with some fruit juice and cornstarch, simmered together and stirred gently. The result is a dessert that can be prepared in about five minutes. Looking for more German frozen treats? Definitely give Spaghettieis a try. It’s an ice cream dish made to look like spaghetti!

Gelato (Italy)

One can now find gelato around the world. This Italian frozen treat of milk, cream, and sugar comes with a variety of flavors. Gelato, which means “frozen” in Italian, differs from ice cream in that it contains more sugar and less fat, yielding a denser and less heavy consistency. Artisan gelato, or gelato artigianale, is packed with flavors, a fact which may account for the higher prices they may call for in some countries; there is simply more stuff packed in to create that flavour punch.

Kulfi (India)

Kulfi, often known as "traditional Indian ice cream", is popular throughout India and its neighboring countries. Likely originating in the 16th century, this custard-like dessert has a base of cream, though it's not whipped like ice cream. It's therefore dense and solid, staying frozen longer than ice cream, an ideal characteristic for the heat of the Indian peninsula. Because of its dense nature, kulfi is often found in bar form, making it portable as well, and topped with dried fruits, dried nuts, cardamom, or fruit sauce.

Banana Split (United States)

The banana split is almost as American as apple pie. First developed by a pharmacist in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1904, the dessert consists of a banana halved lengthwise and filled with three giant scoops of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream. The dessert is further aggrandised with lots of whipped cream and maraschino cherries (usually of the cheap, neon red variety). And because the banana split is so large, it can easily be shared, making enjoyment all the more meaningful.

Kakigōri (Japan)

Kakigōri (“white bear”, denoting the polar bear) is a shaved ice dessert topped with flavored syrup or condensed milk. Unlike the snow cone, the ice in the kakigōri is finely shaved to result in a snow-like texture. Popular toppings include fruit syrups, green tea syrup, mochi (sweetened glutinous rice balls), and ice cream. The influence of kakigōri can be found in the popular Hawaiian shave ice (no, not “shaved ice”). The Italian dessert granita is also very similar.

Dondurma (Turkey)

Dondurma ("freezing") is otherwise popularly known as Turkish ice cream. Unlike traditional ice cream, a key ingredient in dondurma is salep, a flour made from orchid root. This ingredient gives dondurma a chewy and elastic quality, allowing its vendors to put on ostentatious displays of flipping their ice cream around for potential customers to see. Because of its tough and sticky nature, dondurma is scooped with a giant paddle and sometimes eaten with knife and fork. Dondurma is also popular in Azerbaijan, where it is known as Azerbaijani ice cream.

Paletas (Mexico)

Paletas, a Mexican frozen treat served in ice pop form, can come in two types: frozen juice or cream based. Chunks of fresh fruit, and sometimes vegetables, can be found inside. What makes the paleta so important, however, is its cultural significance to Latin American countries. One can find paletas sold by a paletero with a pushcart. For many new immigrants of Latin American countries, the pushcart (carrito paletero) can be a source of financial independence, allowing them to slowly earn money and create a new life.

What is your favorite summer treat? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on culture from around the world.

Picture: (c) Fotolia, S. Engels