A true Wisconsin original, the first ice cream sundae was invented in Two Rivers. In 1881, a customer at Edward C. Berner’s soda fountain asked for his ice cream topped with chocolate sauce. Previously, chocolate sauce was reserved only for ice cream sodas. Originally this new combination was only sold on Sundays, but as popularity gained, the shop renamed the dish “sundae” and offered ice cream sundaes on all days of the week.
Today, ice cream sundae varieties seem almost endless. From classic vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate, strawberries, or caramel, to turtle sundaes and banana splits the sundae is now a staple on almost all ice cream store menus.
This summer, as you look for a sweet treat to beat the heat, create your own Wisconsin-inspired sundae. First, start with delicious Wisconsin ice cream. Odds are, you already have this frozen dairy treat in your freezer. According to the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, 85 percent of home freezers hold a container of a favorite ice cream; I know mine does! My go-to flavors are cookies ‘n cream or a scoop of smooth chocolate peanut butter.
After you have scooped your Wisconsin-made ice cream, add a topping of local, Wisconsin fruit. My favorite? Juicy strawberries picked fresh from a field. This year’s strawberry harvest got off to a late start, which means you can still find fresh berries at farmers’ markets and local farms. These super berries are not only great because they are as sweet as candy, but also because ounce for ounce, strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges. Other locally-grown berries such as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries also make for great Wisconsin sundae toppings.
Next, add a swirl of homemade whipped cream to your sundae. This special treat takes just a few minutes to make with heavy cream, a little powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip all three ingredients together on a medium speed until the cream has a billowy, smooth texture. The rich flavor is well worth the extra effort and your taste buds will thank you for it.
Finish off your Wisconsin sundae with one of Door County’s famous cherries. Cherries are a good source of antioxidants, which help fight cancer and heart disease. These famous cherries put Wisconsin on the map, as we rank fourth in the nation for tart cherry production. In 2017, Wisconsin harvested 11,300 pounds of cherries.
Enjoying a Wisconsin-inspired sundae is the perfect way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month this July. The Badger State is home to 38 ice cream plants, supplying our communities with fresh, local frozen treats all year long. This month, grab a friend or two and toast our hardworking dairy farmers and processors that bring us this delicious dairy treat. Wisconsin farmers and processors are dedicated to producing safe, high-quality dairy products for all of our families to enjoy. Next time you purchase an ice cream treat, be sure to look for Wisconsin-made products. Buying local supports our state’s economy and keeps America’s Dairyland strong.