IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that if you're into ice-cream, put the third Sunday of July next year into your diary – because in America that's been celebrated as National Ice Cream Day for nearly 30 years.
And it was by presidential decree: in 1984, ice-cream lovin' President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream month, and it's third Sunday as National Ice Cream Day.
Today Americans are the world's biggest consumers of ice-cream, licking down 23 litres per person a year, New Zealanders (surprisingly?) second devouring 20 litres each a year, and Australians third at 18 litres a head annually.
Which should be good enough reason for us all to put the third Sunday of next July in our diaries for our own personal Ice Cream Day.
And incidentally, as far back as 340BC Alexander the Great's chefs mixed him snow, ice, honey and nectar as a summer cooler, Marco Polo in the late 13th century took home to Italy a Chinese recipe similar to what we now know as sherbert and which eventually evolved into Italian ice-cream, while in England "cream ice" was served to Charles I in the 17th century.
America's first ice-cream was recorded in 1744 in a letter written by Maryland Governor, William Bladen, accounts show George Washington spent $200 on ice-cream during the steamy summer of 1790, strawberry-infused ice-cream was served in The White House in 1813, while the first commercial ice-creams hit America's streets in the mid-1800s.