Happy Sundae! Err…Sundae. It’s a happy coincidence that today’s food holiday lands on its namesake day. July 7 is National Strawberry Sundae Day! And no, I did not stutter.
As recently mentioned, the sundae was created when conservative governments in several states banned the sale of ice cream sodas on Sundays. In order to keep their businesses afloat (joke alert!), ice cream purveyors came up with a soda-free alternative called the sundae (spelled that way to avoid offending Christians, who apparently believed that soda was the devil’s bidding). Many cities claim to be the birthplace of the sundae, including Two Rivers, Wisconsin; Plainfield, Illinois; Evanston, Illinois; New Orleans; New York City; Ithaca, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; and Buffalo, New York. The exact origin is unclear, but it is generally accepted that the first ice cream sundae appeared sometime between 1880 and 1892.
Ice cream sundaes are simple desserts consisting of one or more scoops of ice cream, topped with sauce, syrup, whipped cream, nuts, fruit, or sprinkles, or – in some cases – all of the above. Most sundaes are cheap and satisfying, but a restaurant in New York City called Serendipity 3 serves a $1000 sundae that is hailed by Guinness World Records as the world’s most expensive. Called the Serendipity Golden Opulence Sundae, this treat is made with 5 scoops of Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla, covered in 23-karat edible gold leaf, rare Amedei Porcelana and Chuao chocolates, caviar, passionfruit, orange, Armagnac, candied fruit from Paris, and marzipan cherries. The whole thing is covered in gold dragées and served in a baccarat Harcourt crystal goblet with an 18-carat-gold spoon. You get to keep the goblet, but have to give back the spoon. Seriously?
Fresh out of $1000 bills, we had to scale back our celebration of the strawberry sundae. Instead, we spent a buck and change and grabbed one from McDonald’s. I remembered that they sold sundaes, but it had been years since I’d gotten one. They were smaller than I remember, actually – but not bad. Not bad at all.