In the late 17th and early 18th century, long before refrigeration was available, Europeans were making ices and ice creams. Although they were often unsure about freezing techniques, they began experimenting with flavors immediately. Confectioners tried everything from breadcrumbs to grated cheese to candied orange flowers in these new frozen treats. They molded them into fanciful shapes and served them with style and flair. Once in a while, they stumbled -- putting foie gras or pured asparagus in ice cream, for example -- but most of their experiments were successful. They led the way to the wonderful range of flavors we enjoy today.

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