History of National Sundae Day
Just who invented the ice cream sundae? Good question. Many claim credit. Here’s a quick glance at a trio of theories ranked from earliest to most recent.:
1. Sundaes first appeared around 1881 in the town of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, when a man named George Hallauer asked his friend Edward C. Berner, the owner of a soda fountain, topped a dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce modeled after ice cream sodas. The magnificent creation only cost a nickel and skyrocketed in popularity, but was sold only on Sundays.
2. A Plainfield, Illinois, druggist named Mr. Sonntag created the dish in 1890 after customers requested something different. He named it the “sonntag” after himself, and since Sonntag means Sunday in German, the name was translated to Sunday, and later was spelled sundae.
3. John M. Scott, a minister, and Chester Platt, co-owner of a pharmacy, created the first sundae on April 3, 1892 (a Sunday), in Ithaca, New York, Platt covered dishes of ice cream with cherry syrup and candied cherries. The men named the dish “Cherry Sunday.”. Historians found a newspaper ad for a “Cherry Sunday” placed in the Ithaca Daily Journal three days later. By May 1892, the Platt & Colt soda fountain also served “Strawberry Sundays,” and later, “Chocolate Sundays”.
Either way, 130 years later, they’re quite a treat!
National Sundae Day timeline
Clarence Clifton Brown, owner of C.C. Brown’s Ice Cream Shop in Los Angeles, tops his sundae with hot chocolate sauce.
Harold Dean Thayer creates his version featuring a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and a scoop of chocolate ice cream with marshmallow sauce, topped with peanuts.
The Two Rivers City Council enacts the “Resolution Formally Challenging the City of Ithaca, New York’s Claim to be “Birthplace of the Ice Cream Sundae.”
In honor of National Dessert Day, New York City’s Sugar Factory restaurant creates a massive sundae known as the Candy Kong.
National Sundae Day FAQs
Is today National Sundae Day?
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National Sundae Day Activities
Host your own sundae bar
Sundaes are a dessert party in a bowl, so what better way to celebrate this sweet holiday than to host your own sundae bar with some friends? Time for an ice cream social hour.
Make your own hot fudge sauce
Making homemade hot fudge sauce is so simple, so good, and so chocolatey that you will never want to go back to the store-bought squirt-out-of-the-bottle kind again. Search online for a recipe — most use fairly simple ingredients like heavy cream, cocoa powder, vanilla, chocolate, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Store it in your fridge and you can drizzle this chocolate concoction for months on end.
Make it boozy
Time to make an adult version of this childhood favorite. For a simple but very grown-up dessert, pour a tablespoon of coffee-flavored liqueur over a coffee ice cream sundae, or some crème de menthe over a mint chocolate chip sundae. You'll be drunk in love with sundaes all over again.
Why We Love National Sundae Day
They're easy to make
For sundaes, it's the building and layering, not the cooking, that counts. These sweet treats require minimal effort with delectable reward: you just need your favorite ice cream, your favorite toppings, a bowl, and an ice cream scooper.
It's all about toppings
When it comes to mixing and matching toppings for these ice cream concoctions, the sky's the limit. Try crumbled cookies, candy bar chunks, nuts, granola, and shredded coconut.
They're great for any occasion
Sundaes are the perfect dessert to dress up a date night, sweeten an outdoor barbecue, or liven up a birthday. Dress up your next occasion by dressing in your "sundae" best.
National Sundae Day dates