For many it is a rare treat, a delicious cool snack to be enjoyed on a hot British summer's day alongside a jellied rat. For others, it is a vile headache-inducing white paste served in a wet cardboard container that tastes of shoes. But whether you love them or hate them, ice creams will soon be no more.
In northern Sweden, the world's largest ice cream mine is set to close by 2022, its last seam of vanilla run dry. For the people of Umeå, it will mean a loss of livelihood, and the loss of an industry that has enriched the town for centuries. It was there in 1762 that Lars Is and Bjørn Krem discovered the first traces of the substance that would bear their combined names.
Ice cream mines are common in the polar regions - there are a couple in Finland and Russia, and one in Canada. But now the ice cream is running out because of humanity's insatiable lust for the soft snack. No new sources have been discovered since the ice cream rush of 1973 in Myllykumpu, Finland.
"Ya, ve are sad to see de mine close," said Swedish ice cream miner Gustav Ripple. "De only vay to make it last is for people to slow down deir consumption. If everyone only had von ice cream per year, den it could last for decades. But people are too greedy."
Some companies have experimented with alternative sources for ice cream. One Finnish company has begun producing fake ice cream made from leaves and flavoured with liquorice. It has proved popular among the locals but its extremely acidic taste is unlikely to make it a successful export.
So, unless we can get our ice cream urges under control, it looks like we will be living in an ice cream-free world in just a few years. As Bjørn Krem himself once said, "A man has not lived until he has tasted ice cream."
Krem himself died under tonnes of the stuff after an unfortunate collapse at the mine. He was buried in a mint chocolate chip coffin, with a scoop of strawberry ice cream over each eye.