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Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Neapolitan?

IMG 1400This was the recent topic of discussion between a friend and I. We remembered the popularity of this ice cream (way) back when we were growing up. This was a popular treat in many American households, before the introduction of SO many other flavors. Then, the choices were simple: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry ice cream OR all three together in Neapolitan ice cream.

But WHY and HOW was it named?

Talking about Neapolitan ice cream made me wonder about its name. Purely for research purposes (of course), I told Grenville that we  HAD to buy some — then sample it — again for the sake of research (of course).

ODD, but he didn't have a problem with this project and neither did I, especially when I mentioned that sampling part.

Traditional Neapolitan ice cream consists of blocks of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream side by side in the same container in brick form. I remembered that it had sheets of packaging in between the flavors similar to waxed paper to separate them. Now, there's usually no packaging between them; some brands even intermix the flavors.

The name Neapolitan has its origins in Naples, Italy (a resident of Naples is a Neapolitan). Naples has a long history of ice cream making  where classic tri-colored blocks were created and sold under the name "spumoni," a tricolored, three-flavored (usually cherry, chocolate and pistachio).
IMG 1403
Italian immigrants to the United States brought their frozen dessert making skills with them and renamed the product "Neapolitan" in the late 19th century. Spumoni was introduced to the US in the 1870s as "Neapolitan-style" ice cream. Early recipes used a variety of flavors; however the three molded together was a common denominator. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry were the most popular flavors at the time of its introduction and so became the "standard" flavors — then and still today.

The traditional packaging of Neapolitan ice cream resembles a brick. However, the variety we bought today came an oval container and was labelled "Classic Trio."
Regardless of the packaging, to me it's still Neapolitan ice cream. We did a taste sample to "make sure" it tasted OK.
IMG 1405
Doesn't everyone DO that after bringing home ice cream?

16 comments:

Ludwig Keck said...

Mmmm, yummy! And to think all we had tonight was chocolate-chip mint ice cream with a pecan shortbread cookie. We will have to go get some Neapolitan tomorrow! Thanks!

Country Gal said...

Interesting I never knew this . Thanks for the info ! I do like Neapolitan but my fave is Briers double churned butterscotch . Have a wonderful day !

Daisy said...

Well, gee, now I want some ice cream!! Glad to hear it passed the taste test. :-) Interesting to find out the history behind the name of this.

Maple Lane said...

Happy to hear that you both sampled the ice cream; I would have done the same! I remember my grandparents always bought Neopolitan and I would "dig" out all the chocolate! Very interesting info tonight.

Out on the prairie said...

We used to go to an ice cream shop and they sliced a piece and put it between to wafer pieces and called it an ice cream sandwich.I am more partial to spumoni but like both.

grammie g said...

Hi B...Wondering minds...thanks for that walk down memory lane and the info on the Neapolitan ice cream!!
I never really liked my ice cream flavors touching each other while growing up,, and I still don't!!: }
My favorite right now is Eddy's Butterfinger.!!
Hope you enjoyed the large sampling!!
Grace

grammie g said...

Hi B...Wondering minds...thanks for that walk down memory lane and the info on the Neapolitan ice cream!!
I never really liked my ice cream flavors touching each other while growing up,, and I still don't!!: }
My favorite right now is Eddy's Butterfinger.!!
Hope you enjoyed the large sampling!!
Grace

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

We had that one too but I think it was called Tricolore here. We also had a variety with vanilla, pear and strawberry and I think that one was called Tricolore pear. Not much imagination needed to figure out that name :-) :-) :-)

I remember when suddenly we could choose from loads of different flavors, it was like coming to heaven :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

Elaine said...

Ah, yes, I do remember the days when our choice of flavors was very limited, and my folks bought Neapolitan often. I really would prefer to have any one of the three to mixing them together. I don't normally do a taste sample when I bring ice cream home, but then I usually buy several cartons at a time so we have a variety of choices for our evening snack. Remember, Alaska has the highest consumption of ice cream in the nation, and so we have to do our share.

Grammy Goodwill said...

Too funny. I had forgotten about those little pieces of paper until now. My hubby always buys Neapolitan ice cream. I'm not a big fan of ice cream.

Sandra said...

did you notice it is no longer a half gallon? they shaped the box, smaller at the bottom, so it has less ice cream but the same price. i have not bought ice cream in a couple of years, we gave it up except once in a while when we eat out, but the last time i bought bob his Breyers Peach i found the box had changed. my mother rarely bought ice cream, we were to poor, but when she did it was this Neopolitian.

Eggs In My Pocket said...

YES!! LOL We always get a spoon, just to taste. Enjoyed the history on this.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

thought I commented but hit the wrong button. Yes, funy thng just the other day buying icecream I almost picked up som neapolitan, which is nostalgic for me today. As I kid I protested, "why can"t we just have chocolate....I hate pink ice cream..." and so on. Remember the checker board ice creams too. We used to slice this and those...thanks for the reminder

Montanagirl said...

I remember Neapolitan too. Not much on strawberry ice cream, however. But it's strange that I like fresh strawberries on vanilla ice cream!

Doris said...

Loved it as a kid...still like it but never choose it. There are too many other flavors that call my name!

Anvilcloud said...

I remember well. I always dug into the chocolate. I still always choose chocolate whenever I can.

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