Ice Cream in Germany
Ice Cream in Germany is an Expression in Art
In cafes throughout Europe, ice cream is a unique form of art. Served on fine china, in hand-blown colorful glasses or in waffle cones, with exotic fruits or exciting liquors, every customer leaves happy. Vibrant, busy and modern, German Eiscafes cater to hyperactive children, large families, vacationing tourists, couples, and everyone young at heart. In Germany, ice cream parlors are full of cheerful people savoring their desserts and enjoying life.
In the late 1900s with the advent of electricity and its ability to keep ice cream at the proper temperature, Eiscafes sprang up all over European cities. Moreover, large amounts of Italians immigrated to all corners of the world at the end of the nineteenth century, bringing their passion for frozen desserts with them. Due to their cultural influence and combined with the invention of the ice cream cone at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904, ice cream parlors expanded throughout the world. In Berlin, for instance, the first Eiscafe, (das Eiscafe Monheim) opened in 1928 and yet as early as 1930 ice cream shops had opened in every major German city.
Today there are thousands of Eiscafes in large and small towns throughout Germany and the majority of these are Italian owned and operated. Working in Germany during the spring, summer and fall months, Italian owners travel back to Italy only during winter, shutting their business down for a few months’ vacation. Names such as Gelateria Bellagio, Cafe San Marino, Benita, Eiscafe Vallazza, Bolina and many others reflect their Italian heritage. Serving cappuccinos and espressos, many are staying open year round, especially in the larger cities. Many Eiscafes are becoming coffee shops as well. These ice cream parlors are kept in immaculate condition, are extremely clean and look like well-kept, modern, European pubs. Whether located in a bustling city, on a picturesque river, or in the village square, the ambiance is always warm and welcoming.
The seven basic styles of German ice cream
Milchspeiseeis is at least 70 percent made from milk.
Rahmeis is at least 60 percent made from creme.
Eiskrem is produced from milk with at least 10 percent milk fat.
Kremeis is made with eggs.
Fruchteis has at least 20 percent fresh fruit in its ingredients.
Kunstspeiseeis is made with artificial color and flavor additives.
Although most Italian cafes serve what is known as Gelato, it is only slightly different from most ice creams. Gelato is a favorite of almost all Germans, even though they do have their own ice cream which is very good. Plenty of cafes have specials that are unique to particular seasons, dependant on local or available ingredients. Most times, however, the menu does not change too much. Scoops and layers of ice cream are situated perfectly on the plate with different textures of crunchy cookies, crispy wafers, crumbled nuts, soft whipped cream, and ripe, juicy fruits. Decorations include long picks with tinsel with which to pick up fruits. (Germans eat very little with their hands). Fruit are often cut into fanciful shapes and placed strategically in the serving dish. Fancy, hand-blown glassware accentuates the beauty of many of the ice cream dishes. Alcohol is often added to special dishes, such as Amaretto, Creme de Menthe and others.
Children’s ice cream dishes are topped with candies and cookies made into faces and are quite whimsical. One of the specialities created in Germany for children is the Spaghettieis. Pressed through a potato ricer, the ice cream is forced through small holes and comes out looking very much like thin strands of spaghetti. Covered with a strawberry topping to represent tomato sauce, shaved coconut is sprinkled on top to represent the Parmesan cheese. Sometimes dark cherries are added in the strawberry sauce to represent olives. The result is a dessert that looks exactly like a plate of spaghetti. Eiscafes are now adding Lasagnaeis, Pizzaeis, and Bratwursteis to their menus. These desserts originated in Germany and have become huge hits not only for children, but for the young at heart as well.