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Cool Down with 18th Century Ice Cream Making Demonstrations

Wed, 07/11/2012

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                          
Digital images available

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203


Cool Down with 18th Century Ice Cream Making Demonstrations

Saturdays in August at George Washington’s Home

MOUNT VERNON, VA – George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, welcomes visitors to learn more about a fascinating side to culinary life in the 18th century through chocolate-ice cream making demonstrations every Saturday in August from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Visitors can watch as costumed staff provides a glimpse into the making of one of George Washington’s favorite desserts! Mount Vernon’s team will explain the fascinating process and use reproduction period equipment to demonstrate how ice cream was made in the 18th century.

“The Washingtons would have enjoyed ice cream flavors popular in the 18th century such as oyster, parmesan cheese, and tea ice cream,” said Gail Cassidy, Manager of Interpretation for Mount Vernon.

Before electricity and ice cream specialty stores, the dessert was a popular treat amongst the wealthiest citizens of the colonies.  Ice cream dates back to 7th century China, possibly earlier, according to culinary historians.  At Mount Vernon, ice would have been harvested from the Potomac River during the wintertime and stored in an icehouse on the estate.  The Washingtons purchased a “cream machine for ice” in 1784. A recipe for ice cream can be found in Martha Washington’s copy of “The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy.”  While in Philadelphia as first lady, Martha Washington frequently served ice cream during her weekly receptions. George Washington’s favorite ice cream flavor remains unknown today.

Visitors to Mount Vernon’s ice cream making demonstrations will receive an adapted 18th century recipe for ice cream that they can make at home using plastic bags. For those who don’t want to wait to indulge, ice cream is available for sale at Mount Vernon’s food court.  The ice cream demonstrations are included in regular Estate admission: adults, $15.00; children ages 6-11, $7.00; and children under 5 are admitted free.  For more information and to use the helpful trip planner, please visit


Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.

Public Information: 703-780-2000; 703-799-8697 (TDD);

Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America.  Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.”  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital.

Hours of operation: April-August, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; March, September, October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; November – February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Regular admission rates: adults, $15.00; senior citizens, $14.00; children age 6-11, when accompanied by an adult, $7.00; and children under age 5, FREE.  Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.