The popular account of ice cream is that Marco Polo (1254-1324) introduced the idea to Italy having seen it on his travels in China, but there is no known evidence to support this. One of the earliest pieces of documentary evidence of an iced dairy product comes from a Chinese poem by Yang Wanli (1127-1206) in which he describes iced milk.

It looks so greasy but still has a crisp texture
It appears congealed and yet it seems to float
Like jade, it breaks at the bottom of the dish;
As with snow, it melts in the light of the sun.

Translation by Roderick Whitfield, Professor of East Asian Art, University of London

Sounds disgusting doesn't it? Now back to my ice cream research :-)

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