The world's top five consumers of ice cream in order: United States of America, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Belgium/Luxembourg.
The love for ice cream has been around for many centuries. Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. Biblical references also show that King Solomon was fond of iced drinks during harvesting. During the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.
Over a thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. "Cream Ice," as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century. It wasn't until 1660, though, that ice cream was made available to the general public. The first advertisement for ice cream in US appeared in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777, when confectioner Philip Lenzi announced that ice cream was available "almost every day." Records show that President George Washington spent approximately $200 for ice cream during the summer of 1790. President Thomas Jefferson was said to have a favorite 18-step recipe for an ice cream delicacy that resembled a modern-day Baked Alaska.
Around 1800, ice houses were invented. Ice cream in America soon became a manufacturing industry, pioneered in 1851 by a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell. Like other American industries, ice cream production increased because of technological innovations, including steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment. Due to ongoing technological advances, today's total production of frozen dairy and ice cream in US is more than 1.6 billion gallons.
Ice cream became an edible morale symbol during World War II. Each branch of the military tried to outdo the others in serving ice cream to its troops. In 1945, the first "floating ice cream parlor" was built for sailors in the western Pacific.
In the 1940's through the '70s, ice cream production was relatively constant in the United States. As Ice cream in US was sold through supermarkets, traditional ice cream parlors and soda fountains started to disappear. Specialty ice cream stores and unique restaurants that feature ice cream dishes have surged in popularity.
It almost seems pointless, to say that today ice cream doesn't have to be considered simply as a voluptuous food category, a treat for children, or simple refreshment good for temporarily cooling you off in the summer heat, but as a complete food which has no contra-indications.
The greatest year-round ice cream consumers are North American countries. Per-capita consumption of ice cream in US is slightly higher than France and Germany. Thanks to the fact that ice cream is offered in so many flavors and is presented in such a pleasant manner, it remains one of the favorite frozen treats not only in the US, but all around the world.