Ice cream pail

Ice cream pails were used to keep ice cream frozen on the dining table © Mount Stewart

Ice cream pails were used to keep ice cream frozen on the dining table

Ice cream pails were once used to keep ice cream frozen whilst on the dining table.

Ice was placed into the bottom of the pail, and the ice cream into a central bowl. The lid was placed on top, which was also filled with ice. If salt is added to the ice, the ice cream will remain frozen for up to four hours. Porcelain was used to make ice cream pails because it is impervious to salt.

Ice creams and sorbets were very popular in country houses like Mount Stewart, where it was possible to build an ice house within the estate. Ice could be taken from the freshwater lake, and stored there deep underground long after the freeze of winter.

You can see the remains of Mount Stewart’s ice house in the wooded area behind Rhododendron Hill.