How Germany’s Spaghetti Ice Cream Came to Be

When Dario Fontanella dreamed up a wacky dessert imposter for his children in the 1960s, he couldn’t have foreseen that his concoction would one day delight millions of people, young and old. Spaghetti ice cream — or spaghettieis as it came to be called — gives the appearance of a bowl of spaghetti through methods that he invented to shape ice cream into thin strings. What looks like marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese is actually a fruit sauce and grated white chocolate. Now, decades later, some 30 million cups of spaghettieis are sold in Germany each year. Dario, 71, is owner of Eis Fontanella, an ice cream shop in Mannheim, Germany, and comes from a long line of ice cream masters. The idea first came to him in 1969 when he was in Italy on vacation and ordered a dessert called Mont Blanc — a sweetened chestnut puree in the form of vermicelli, topped with whipped cream. This particular restaurant, however, used a stainless steel spätzle maker instead of a pastry bag to give the chestnut mix a unique spaghetti-like appearance. Inspired, Dario experimented with this method to create his own ice cream treat. Spaghettieis is made by first layering whipped cream on a dish. Then, vanilla ice cream is compressed using a spätzle press or a potato ricer. The red sauce that smothers Dario’s version of the dish is a strawberry jam made with fresh strawberries and orange juice. Lastly, white chocolate is grated over the dish to look like a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.