Traditional Ice-creams around the World

  1. Gelato (Italy)


Gelato is more intense, milkier and denser than traditional ice creams (use them alternately and Italians get pissed off). Gelatos have more milk than cream and are less fatty. Some of the most-loved flavours are Fragola (strawberry) and Nocciola (hazelnut).


The traditional Argentinian ice-cream Helado is quite similar to Gelato.


  1. Spaghetti-eis (Germany)


A sundae-like dish resembling spaghetti, this 1969 creation is made from pressed vanilla ice-cream to make spaghetti-esque pasta, white chocolate/coconut flakes, and strawberry jam. Yum!


  1. Kulfi (India)


The dense, slow-cooked Kulfi contains sugar, condensed milk, and exotic flavours like cardamom and rosewater. This custard-like preparation of Kulfi is then poured into moulds and traditionally kept frozen in earthenware salt-ice pots. The pots are called ‘matka’ in Hindi and so, Kulfi in India is also called Matka Kulfi.


Kulfi is easily available in street-side stalls and even high-end restaurants in countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Burma.




  1. Fālūde/Faloodeh (Iran)


The Persian and Afghan dessert Faloodeh is said to have existed as far back as 400 BC. Frozen thin vermicelli noodles, lime juice, rosewater and corn starch make up this fresh dessert.


Versions of this same Faloodeh from Iran are sold in streets across India.



  1. Chongos & Paletas (Mexico)


Chongos is Mexican custard-turned-cold-and-creamy-ice-cream made of sugar, milt, rennet, and canella (Mexican cinnamon).


Paletas are ‘summer on a stick’ – they are like popsicles made from fresh vegetables or fruits, sugar and milk/water. Interesting, no?


  1. Halva (Israel)


Originating from Tel Aviv, the main ingredient of Halva ice-cream is sesame halva. Halva in itself is a sweet, candy-like treat of some ingredient like sesame seeds here, mashed into a honey-and-sugar paste. It also contains tahini paste, sugar, cream and eggs, and is topped with Silan (date syrup) and pistachios.


  1. Dondurma (Turkey)


Dondurma is a mastic, stretchy ice-cream with taffy-like consistency. It is made from sugar, mastic, salep (flour made from Orchis tubers), whipped cream and cream. Dondurma street vendors wow passers-by with their Dondurma-making abilities.


The Greek ice-cream Pagoto is much like the Dondurma.


  1. Mochi ice-cream (Japan)


Believed to be at least 2000 years old, Mochi (called ‘Food for the Gods’) is a chewy, thick Japanese cake made from pounded glutinous rice. Mochi ice-cream consists of Daifuku (small, flattened Mochi piece rolled into a ball) and chocolate ice-cream, and is extremely popular.




  1. Plombir (Russia)


The Russian Plombir is considered to be the most basic type of ice-cream available in the region. The Russian Plombir consists of fruits, nuts, chocolate, cream, whole milk and flavours such as almond (from almond oil) and vanilla.


The French glace Plombières, which sounds quite like the Russian version, is in fact a type of vanilla ice cream with candied fruits that are marinated in kirsch.


  1. Sorbetes (Philippines)


Nicknamed ‘dirty ice cream’ (not because it is filthy but because it is peddled on crowded city streets), Sorbetes is made from carabao or coconut milk and cassava or tapioca flour and is served with sweet bread or in waffle cones.


  1. Booza (Arab nations)


Booza is mastic-based ice-cream made from salep or sahlab, mastic, sugar and milk.


  1. Ais Kacang (Malaysia, Singapore)


Ais Kacang is a colourful dessert made from cooked red beans and shaved ice, and topped with milk, nuts, seeds, syrup, jelly, and creamed sweet corn.


  1. Es Puter (Indonesia)


The traditional dessert Es Puter (‘stirred ice-cream’) consists of Pandanus leaves, sugar, coconut milk and exotic flavours.


  1. Indian ice-cream (Alaska)


Don’t let the name fool you! It is neither Indian nor vegetarian; this is a dessert made from dried caribou or moose meat or dried fish, berries or mild sweeteners and fat, and is whipped with a whisk before it is frozen.


By Malavika Madgula


Have something to add or have any changes to suggest? Please write to us at


Posted In: Food Travels