Ice Cream Culture

German tabloid Bild recently ran an article complaining about the recent price increases in ice cream in Germany. It’s enough to make an American chuckle. But international ice cream culture is something I’ve been considering off and on for a while now. It’s shocking how widely it differs by culture.

In 2009, while we were in Berlin, there were several days that we sat in our hotel room in Mitte and people watched out the window. Without fail on weekday afternoons we would see parents being marched down the street by their backpack-wearing young children. They were heading for Eismanufaktur, an ice cream shop. The children, probably less than 10 years of age, were getting ice cream at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. I wasn’t shocked, per say, but it made me laugh. At that age — even at my current age — I would never have been allowed ice cream at that hour. The Italians’ love of gelato is similarly renowned.

We also made a number of visits to Eismanufaktur — their chocolate ice cream was delicious. A sugar cone with a single scoop of a healthy size was 1€. 1€! At the time that was probably about $1.30. We marveled at how cheap the price was and how high the quality was as we aimlessly wandered the neighborhood that got quiet once all the shops had closed up for the evening. Similarly, when we went to Munich in 2011, a scoop and a cone was 1€ at both Hirschgarten and at Sarcletti (although their employees seemed much less patient with my stumbling, bumbling German).

But apparently since then prices have increased and people are incensed…or at least publishing an article about it. The other day we went for ice cream. It was about $9 for a chocolate milk shake and a scoop of ice cream in a waffle cone. And we were both disappointed with the ice cream.

What’s the ice cream culture in your neck of the woods?

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