LUXURY ice cream makers Doddington Dairy have launched the UK’s first ever range of Roman ice cream after taking inspiration from a homesick centurion’s dinner party plans.
The ice cream comes in specially designed Roman pots and is now on sale in Hadrian’s Wall Country.
The three varieties; apple and cinnamon, cherry and honey are all flavours which were enjoyed in Britain 2000 years ago.
This range is inspired by a wooden tablet found at Vindolanda on Hadrian’s Wall where a Roman soldier urged his staff to secure “a hundred apples, if you can find nice ones”.
Touched by these sentiments, Doddington’s founders Neill and Jackie Maxwell decided to do some further research on fruits and flavours that would have been enjoyed in Roman Britain.
“The Roman tablet sparked our imagination to bring together new flavours from ancient roots,” said Jackie.
“Britain has always been well known for its apples and honey and one of the reasons we picked the cherry flavour was because the Romans introduced a better flavour of eating cherry into the country.”
Rome’s influence extended throughout its empire and was particularly strong along Hadrian’s Wall. Many soldiers bought the eating habits of their far away homeland with them.
Banquets finished with a sweet course and decorated platters piled high with pomegranates, apples, pears, peaches, dates, figs and grapes were common.
Honey-cakes were popular as was a Roman version of ice-cream, made from snow and sweet grape juice, and rumoured to be a favourite of Emperor Nero.
The origins of the new Doddington Dairy Roman range can clearly be seen in these ancient roots.
And Lindsay Allason-Jones, director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies at Newcastle University said: “We know that the Roman’s enjoyed their food and if they had been able to freeze their ice creams, these would certainly be some of the flavours they would have sampled.”
The ice cream is hand-made at Doddington with fresh milk from one of Northumberland’s few remaining dairy herds.
Where possible the other ingredients are sourced locally, for example the honey comes from Chain Bridge Honey Farm at Horncliffe.
Doddington Dairy readily acknowledges that one of the keystones to its success has been the support that is has gained from local tourist attractions.
Many such as the Alnwick Garden and The Sage Gateshead have chosen to stock local ice cream often with flavours unique to their locations.
Doddington Dairy hope that attractions with a strong Roman connection will stock the new range.
Neill said: “Response so far has been very enthusiastic and we are hoping to have Roman ice cream available along the length of Hadrian’s Wall this summer.”
Roman ice cream will be on sale at Vindolanda, Segedunum, Housesteads Roman Fort and other outlets throughout the north east.
The three Roman flavours of ice cream are available in bespoke 120ml cartons or 4 litre cartons for scooping.
Attractions, restaurants, hotels and cafes interested in stocking Roman Britain Ice Cream should contact Doddington Dairy on: enquiries@doddingtondairy. co.uk or telephone 01668 283010 or 07900 910657.
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