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Ice cream is just one amazing treat that we can’t help but love all its forms and incarnations!  One of which is a serving of a yummy, colorful and aesthetically topped sundae!  The Oxford English Dictionary simply describes this frozen sweet treat as “a dish of ice cream with added ingredients such as fruit, nuts, and syrup.”

This all-American dessert has no official records as to how it came to be… but one of the most popular accounts was that it was a way for the people to still enjoy ice cream sodas on a Sunday, despite the Blue Laws.  These laws banned specific activities on Sundays, or the day of the Sabbath, one of which was the sale of the soda!  Certain stories came out that instead of the soda, they added syrup to ice cream, giving birth to the sundae!  It was also said that this cool and creamy dessert was originally named Sunday, and eventually revised to sundae.

Sundae Trivia

  • The most documented origin of the Sundae is said to back in 1892 at Ithaca, New York. Ithaca calls itself the “Home of the Ice Cream Sundae” and extensively tells the tale in their official website.  They have the oldest-known record through an ad of a “Cherry Sunday” published at the Ithaca Daily Journal dated April 5, 1892.
  • On April 3, 1892, Chester C. Platt, the proprietor of Platt & Colt Pharmacy in downtown Ithaca asked his fountain clerk, DeForest Christiance, for two bowls of ice cream for himself and a Reverend John M. Scott. Instead of plain vanilla, Platt topped the bowls with cherry syrup and a candied cherry.  This dish was so good that they gave a name to this creation, hence the “Cherry Sunday.”
  • The Visit Ithaca Website also posts additional documentation to prove their claim such as the ledger books of the Platt & Colt pharmacy, a letter from the clerk, and what seems to be a letter to seek trademark protection for the said ice cream “Sunday.” Now that’s a whole lotta history lesson happening!
  • Ithaca, New York went into a decades-long “Sundae War” vs Two Rivers, Wisconsin! Their mayors actually sparred letters and barbs about which place is the real home of the sundae!
  • Two Rivers’ version was that in 1881, (earlier than Ithaca’s accounts that happened in 1892), Edward Berners of Ed Berners’ Ice Cream Parlor was asked for an ice cream soda. But since it was a Sunday, he put the ice cream in a dish and added chocolate syrup on top.  Upon sampling, he liked his creation and called it “ice cream with syrup” which he sold at the same price as an ice cream dish.  However, it was said that the only reference to support this account was an interview with Berners in 1929 by a Two Rivers Reporter newspaper.
  • The Wisconsin State Historical Society recognized Two Rivers as the birthplace of the sundae and even erected a historical market in 1973. In 2006, they officially contested through a resolution Ithaca’s claim!

Sundae Buying Guide

Sundaes are usually sold in ice cream parlors, creameries, dessert shops, and more!  It usually contains several scoops of ice cream, served in a dish topped with some syrup, whipped cream with sprinkles, fruit slices and bits of chocolate.  Your creativity and preferences will decide as to what your sundae (and how much of it) will contain!

Sundae Production & Farming in Texas

Local and artisan ice cream producers also serve sundaes as part of their menu.  Some offer a much healthier alternative using real and wholesome ice cream, fresh fruits, and homemade syrups versus the commercially processed options.

Preservatives, Additives, and Chemicals

Caution has always been expressed when it comes to the consumption of ice cream and all of its forms, like the sundae. It can be very sweet and of course, everything in excess is not good for the body. Despite having sugar-free or low-fat options, just like any other food, moderation is best practiced.

All-natural and artisan-made ice creams are easy to monitor when it comes to preservatives and additives listed on their products. However, with the toppings, syrups, and other sundae add-ons, that’s when the lines get blurred!  It would be best to always check where the ice cream and other ingredients come from, and how they were made!   Here are some substances that are found often in the sundae ingredients:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup – The HFCS is an artificial sugar that is made from corn syrup. Commercial producers of products usually use this, as the HFCS is a cheaper substitute to natural sweeteners. But overconsumption of items with this ingredient can be linked to several serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and heart disease.
  • Maltodextrin – a polysaccharide that is commonly added to packaged foods to improve its flavor, thickness, and shelf life. This white powdery substance is derived from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat, however, it is highly processed, using acids or enzymes. Maltodextrin is considered by the US FDA to be a safe food additive and is counted in the total carbohydrate count in the food’s nutritional value. There are warnings that the maltodextrin may have a high glycemic index and might pose an issue for those with diabetes. But this substance is usually present in small amounts in food and therefore won’t have that much significant effect if taken moderately.
  • Guar Gum – This is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive in processed foods and can be derived from legumes called guar beans. It is used to thicken and bind food products, as it is soluble and can absorb water. The FDA recognizes this as safe for consumption in specific amounts. It has said to have some benefits like improving digestive health and decrease blood sugar and blood cholesterol, however, it may also trigger an allergic reaction, or cause gas and bloating.
  • Carrageenan – This food additive can be derived from red seaweeds as well as in other vegan products. With it being derived from a plant, this is one of the manufacturer’s substitutes to replace gelatin which can be obtained from animals. However, there were some reports of side-effects of carrageenan such as inflammation, bloating, glucose intolerance, colon cancer, food allergies, and some more. And in 2016, the National Organic Standards Board ruled that food with carrageenan in its ingredients should not be labeled as “USDA organic.”
  • Monoglycerides, Diglycerides, Triglycerides – These are forms of fatty acids and are often used as emulsifiers, which help oil and water to blend. It is commonly added to packaged and frozen foods to help extend the shelf life, prevent oil from separating from the product, and to improve its texture and stability. They can be derived from plant-based oils or animal fats, but since concentrations are usually low, these are then sourced through chemical processes. These substances are said to contain trans fat, the artificial form of which is banned by the U.S. FDA from all foods as it has been linked to an increased risk of heart diseases and stroke. But it is said that the FDA ban does not apply to mono or diglycerides since they only contain small amounts of trans fat and are classified as emulsifiers, instead of lipids. These are also perceived as low-cost alternatives to trans-fat.


Sundaes are usually served in bowls, dishes, or tall glasses.  For to-go options, plastic cups with dome-like lids are also used.  Commercially produced sundaes are packed just like ice cream in plastic tubs and containers.

Enjoying Sundaes

Seeing a heaping serving of a sundae in a bowl just gets you excited – either bringing out the child in you, or because of the sugar high, it can induce!  The sundae must be prepared, served, and eaten immediately because no one wants a melted sundae!  Go for all-sweet options with chocolate bits, marshmallows, caramel and chocolate syrups, or go for something fruity, with cherries and other fruits as toppings.


It is best to treat sundaes like ice cream. Keep frozen and consume immediately! Definitely not a problem!  However, it is also best to take note of the toppings and other ingredients added as putting them on the freezer may not yield their best quality after some time.

Make your own Sundae

Want to make your own bowl of sundae at home?

The Hershey Company has their classic hot fudge sundae recipe!  But aside from the published recipes and suggestions, feel free to add and combine anything to create your version of this sweet concoction!


  • 2 tablespoons of milk chocolate fudge topping
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • 1 maraschino cherry


  1. Heat the fudge topping according to package directions
  2. In a sundae dish or bowl, place a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or scoops as much as you want).  Pour the warm fudge over the ice cream scoop.
  3. Top the scoop with whipped cream and cherry to create that classic sundae look!
  4. Serve and consume immediately!



  • Serving Size: 1 Sundae, (165g)
  • Calories: 379
  • Carbs: 47g 16%
  • Sugar: 40g
  • Fiber: 1.9g 8%
  • Protein: 6.1g
  • Fat: 19g 29%
  • Saturated Fat: 10g 50%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 63mg 21%
  • Sodium 131mg 5%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Calcium 14%
  • Iron 4%
  • Potassium 345mg 7%
  • Vitamin B6 5%
  • Cobalamin 6%
  • Magnesium 5%

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