A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 15, 2015
“Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

"Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal” is often credited to the French writer and philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778) and has been printed on many gift items. There is no evidence that Voltaire ever said it. The quotation first appears in print since about 2004—well after Voltaire’s lifetime.

“All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening” is a similar quote that was made by American critic Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943) in 1933.


Wikipedia: Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet (French: [fʁɑ̃.swa ma.ʁi aʁ.wɛ]; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire (/voʊlˈtɛər/; French: [vɔl.tɛːʁ]), was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken advocate, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day.

Wikiquote: Talk:Voltaire
Ice-Cream
I have seen this quote attributed to Voltaire on several websites: “Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.” Anyone know where it is from? == Answer : the sentence does not exist in French (no reported written sources). It seems to be a English pseudo-quote, spreading from a fake/joke into the internet. ==

14 February 2004, The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, IN), pg. C1, col. 2:
Quotable
“Ice cream is exquisite — what a pity it isn’t illegal.” — Voltaire

Google Groups: it.media.tv
Vianello e Mike Buongiorno a blob
Marco
4/18/04
(...)
Ice-cream is exquisite - what a pity it isn’t illegal. (Voltaire)

International Military Forums
cool quotes. info
mrcool011
July 23rd, 2004
(...)
Ice-cream is exquisite - what a pity it isn’t illegal.
Voltaire

Google Books
Cool:
The Story of Ice Cream

By Marilyn Powell
Toronto, ON: Penguin Canada
2005
Pg. 230:
As Voltaire is said to have remarked, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.”

Google Books
Of Sugar and Snow:
A History of Ice Cream Making

By Jeri Quinzio
Berkeley, CA: University of California Press
2009
Pg. 17:
Voltaire set one of his plays, L’Ecossaise, in a cafe modeled on Cafe Procope. Perhaps inspired by the ice cream he enjoyed there, he is credited with having said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.”

Gastronomista
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009
“Ice Cream is Exquisite. What a Pity it isn’t Illegal”
At least that’s what Voltaire said. The Berley boys, Eric and Ryan have taken the hint and have created a vintage ice cream parlor and soda fountain making ice cream that much more decadent and naughty.

Google Books
Ice Cream and Other Frozen Delights
By Benjamin Vear
Bath: Absolute Press
2013
Pg. 8:
The eighteenth-century French wit Voltaire once observed, ‘Ice cream is exquisite; what a pity it isn’t illegal’ – implying that this would make it even more seductive.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, March 15, 2015 • Permalink