Ice cream or ice-cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners. In some cases, artificial flavourings and colourings are used in addition to (or in replacement of) the natural ingredients. This mixture is stirred slowly while cooling to prevent large ice crystals from forming; the result is a smoothly textured ice cream.
The meaning of the term ice cream varies from one country to another. Terms like frozen custard, frozen yogurt, sorbet, gelato and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles. In some countries, like the USA, the term ice cream applies only to a specific variety, and their governments regulate the commercial use of all these terms based on quantities of ingredients. In others, like Italy and Argentina, one word is used for all the variants. Alternatives made from soy milk, rice milk, and goat milk are available for those who are lactose intolerant or have an allergy to dairy protein, or in the case of soy and rice milk, for those who want to avoid animal products.