Oldest Ice Cream Course in North America Celebrates 100 Years

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Ice cream has fans of all ages and for many decades.

The University of Guelph will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the oldest ice cream technology course in North America next week, from Dec. 1 to 5.

Held since 1914, the annual course is the only one of its kind in Canada.

U of G will hold an industry-wide open symposium on Friday, Dec. 5 to note the anniversary, followed by a luncheon.

Media may cover the course itself and see how ice cream is made on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 3. Interviews with University of Guelph food science professor Doug Goff could take place at 12 p.m.

When ice cream manufacturers want to learn the craft, they turn to Goff, who has taught the course since 1987.

The course covers a range of areas, including mix composition the freezing process, novelty manufacturing, making different flavours, dairy microbiology and food safety.

“We have new state-of-the-art processing equipment this year, just being installed now. We’ll also be looking back on Friday at the history of the course. So that is an exciting event for us,” Goff said.

Goff is regarded as the leading Canadian expert on making ice cream. Each year, he teaches 40 to 50 manufacturers, suppliers and regulators how to make ice cream each year.

For Goff, that interest in the course shows the enduring popularity of the frozen treat, even in our cold winter months.

“Part of the appeal is obviously the taste, which is sweet, creamy and cold,” he said.

Despite increasing health consciousness among consumers, ice cream continues to be the dessert of choice for many, said Goff.

“In my view, it’s all about portion size and moderation. You can eat ice cream, but maybe you don’t want to have three scoops each day.”

Goff grew up in Nova Scotia where his father was in the ice cream business and where the family freezer always contained several flavours of ice cream. He now sees changes he could not have imagined a half-century ago.

“There are hot and spicy flavours, such as jalapeno or wasabi, and vegetable ones, such as green bean, corn, beet or sweet potato. I’ve seen fish flavours, and met an ice cream maker in Sonoma, California, who made red and white wine ice creams.”

He believes our love for ice cream will endure.

“We have a lot of dessert options today, but the love for ice cream spans all generations.”