The earliest known ice houses can be traced to 4000 years ago in Mesopotamia, Asia.
Golden funeral mask of king Tutankhamun History also shows that the pharaohs of Egypt used to have ice shipped to them.
Dionysos, Ariadne, satyrs and maenads. Side A of an Attic red-figure calyx-krater, ca. 400-375 BC. From Thebes. Persephone and Hades. Tondo of an Attic red-figured kylix, ca. 440-430 BC. Said to be from Vulci. During the 5th century BC, ancient Greeks ate snow mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, encouraged his Ancient Greek patients to eat ice "as it livens the life juices and increases the well-being." In the 4th century BC, it was well known that a favorite treat of Alexander the Great was snow ice mixed with honey and nectar. In modern times Greek ice cream recipes have some unique flavors such as chewy mastic-resin, Olive Oil Ice Cream with figs; Pagoto Kataifi Chocolate, from the shredded filo dough pastry that resembles angel's hair pasta or vermicelli; and Mavrodaphne Ice Cream, made from a Greek dessert wine. Fruity Greek Sweets of the Spoon are served as toppings with these flavors.
Yuan Blue White Dragon Stem Cup, Yuan Dynasty The Polo family arrives in a Chinese city The harvesting and storage of ice are recorded in a poem of circa 1100 B.C. in the Shih Ching, the famous collection of Food Canons. There is also mention of a festival held when the ice houses were opened for summer use: "In the days of the second month, they hew out the ice. . . in the third month they convey it to the ice houses which they open in those of the fourth, early in the morning, having offered in sacrifice a lamb with scallions." Confucius, author of Shih Ching Marco Polo It is believed, thatChinese King Tang (AD 618) invented a method of mixing ice and milk into flavorful concoctions. Folklore also claims that Marco Polo brought the recipe to Italy. Marco Polo never mentions this anywhere in his writings and no Chinese recipes exist either.
When Italian duchess Catherine de' Medici married the duc d’Orléans in 1533, legend has it that she has brought her Italian chefs who had recipes for flavored ices or sorbets, and introduced them in France. One hundred years later, Charles I of England was supposedly so impressed by the "frozen snow", he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula secret, so ice cream could be a royal prerogative. There is, however, no historical evidence to support these legends, which first appeared during the 19th century.
Ice cream recipes first appear in 18th century England and America. The first ice cream makers were produced in the United States from the 1860s. The inner can was placed in the outer bucket, and ice and salt were placed between the inner can and outer bucket. The salt lowered the freezing point of the ice, and contact with the inner bucket made a thin layer of milk freeze on the inside of the inner can. The rotating paddle, turned by a crank, scraped off the frozen milk, and let a new layer freeze.