Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Häagen-Dazs belongs to the category of rich, dense, super-premium ice creams that have more butterfat and less overrun (air) than the average ice cream. Reuben and Rose Mattus created the upscale brand in their family-owned ice cream plant in the Bronx, New York. See ice cream and ben & jerry’s.

In 1921 young Reuben immigrated to New York from Grodno, Belarus, with his widowed mother, Lea Mattus. Reuben tasted ice cream for the very first time on Ellis Island, where newcomers were treated to the luscious dessert because it reinforced the concept of America as the land of plenty. Initially, Lea earned money by cooking for single men in her neighborhood. Then she partnered with one of the bachelors to start a business making Italian ices in the Bronx. Lea took charge, and under her frugal management the business reaped large profits. She expanded her product line, adding ice cream novelties and bulk ice cream.