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The Origin Of Rocky Road Ice Cream Is, Well, A Rocky Road

June 2nd is a day made for chocolate, marshmallows, and nuts. It’s National Rocky Road Day!  In the United States, the most popular way to eat Rocky Road is in ice cream.

  • Sometime during the late 1920s, William Dreyer used inspiration from his partner Joseph Edy’s chocolate candy to make rocky road ice cream. He used his wife’s sewing scissors to chop up marshmallows and walnuts and added them to chocolate ice cream.
  • Another who laid claim to the creation of rocky road ice cream was George Fenton. He had simply blended a candy bar into chocolate ice cream creating the creamy dessert.
  • Soon after, the stock market crashed, in 1929, and the ice cream was given the name Rocky Road to bring smiles to faces during the Great Depression.
  • The Rocky Road dessert (not ice cream) was first created in Australia in 1853. Unscrupulous businessmen took confectionery items that had been spoiled by their journey from Europe and mixed them with local nuts as well as low quality chocolate. The name was used as a reference to the rocky road that travelers used in order to access the gold fields.
  • There are contradictory claims that the recipe came from creamery owner George Fenton. Fenton’s Creamery claims that Dreyer and Edy used Fenton’s idea and served Rocky Road at their own shop.
  • It takes 12 lbs. of milk to make just one gallon of ice cream.
  • The U.S. enjoys an average of 48 pints of ice cream per person, per year, more than any other country.
  • It takes an average of 50 licks to polish off a single-scoop ice cream cone.
  • In 2003, Portland, Oregon bought more ice cream per person than any other U.S. city.
  • According to a Mental Floss article that investigates Rocky Road’s origins, the earliest American recipe for Rocky Road is a candy cookbook published in Kansas in 1920. That version includes the rather unusual addition of honey crème whip.
  • Singer Weird Al Yankovich famously shared his love of Rocky Road with his parody song “I Love Rocky Road” in 1983.
  • the first known recipe for Rocky Road originated not in California, but in Kansas. Several editions of Rigby’s Reliable Candy Teacher were published by W. O. and Fred Rigby beginning in 1909. For the 13th edition, copyrighted in 1920, they included a recipe for “Rocky Road,” which is a little weirder than today’s version.
  • Ice cream became available to the general population in France in 1660.
  • Ice cream was introduced to America in the 1700’s, but mostly enjoyed by those of status and wealth.
  • Americans celebrated the victory of WWII with ice cream. In 1946, they ate more than 20 quarts of ice cream per person.
  • An average dairy cow can produce enough milk in her lifetime to make a little over 9,000 gallons of ice cream.
  • The first commercial ice cream plant was established in Baltimore in 1851 by Jacob Fussell.
  • Italo Marchiony sold his homemade ice cream from a pushcart on Wall Street. He reduced his overhead caused by customers breaking or wandering off with his serving glasses by baking edible waffle cups with sloping sides and a flat bottom. He patented his idea in 1903.


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