Vanilla as a flavor was first recorded as used in food by the Aztecs during the 1500’s. It was introduced to the Spanish conquistadors when they traveled across Mesonamerica. The Spanish were transfixed by the many ways vanilla was used in traditional Indian food and drinks, which is why the Spanish brought the vanilla bean back to Spain and throughout Europe by the 1600’s.
Vanilla ice cream was thought to have been invented in Asia in the fourteenth century. Ice cream making spread from East to Europe when Moors and Arabs traveled to Spain and refrigeration became prominent in Europe. By the early 18th century, Italians and French were making vanilla ice cream, or frozen vanilla desserts by making smooth iced concoctions blended with sugar, eggs, and egg yolks in the recipe. The first ice cream recipes recorded by the French in the early eighteenth century did not include egg yolks.
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