At the end of a long day or a stressful week, we like to unwind with our favorite ice cream treat. Ice cream sandwiches will do, but when we’re feeling fancy, we reach for an entire pint, because we deserve it. It’s hard to beat all the delicious flavors out there — toasted coconut, chocolate truffle, we could go on and on. Yes, indulging in ice cream is a truly luxurious affair. However, we’ve been misled by one particular brand: Häagen-Dazs (or, as my sweet grandmother used to incorrectly call it, Däagen-Hazs). With its premium packaging and upscale name, we always assumed the ice cream brand had European roots. So, we were shocked to learn about the company’s true history.
Häagen-Dazs is not, in fact, a European company. It’s not from Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Sweden, or Denmark. Nope, Häagen-Dazs is from… America. Specifically, the Bronx in New York City. Huh? Yep. According to the Häagen-Dazs website, a man named Reuben Mattus launched the company in 1960 with three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. Then, in 1976, his daughter opened the first Häagen-Dazs scoop shop in Brooklyn.
“Reuben’s daughter Doris opens the first Häagen-Dazs shop in Brooklyn Heights, NY, introducing Brooklynites to his delicious, velvety ice cream in every hand-pulled scoop,” their website states. “The shop on Montague Street remains today.”
Our minds are completely blown.
Who knew that Häagen-Dazs started in NYC? Not us.
We always assumed Häagen-Dazs was European. Didn’t you?
We blame the umlaut. And the double “a” in the spelling of “Häagen.”
It turns out that Mattus did that on purpose. He wanted people to think Häagen-Dazs was a fancy foreign company. As his wife Rose’s 2006 obituary in The New York Times explains, he added the umlaut and printed a map of Denmark on the carton on purpose. What a trickster.
Not gonna lie, we feel sort of duped. But it’s a pretty smart tactic that worked like a charm.
We’re not the only ones who didn’t know Häagen-Dazs originated in America. Twitter was shocked, too.
why did you guys not tell me you originated in New York? This whole time I thought I was buying imported ice cream— Apropos Andy (@DaringGeneral) May 27, 2016
Like, really shocked. The more you know!
Haagen-Dazs comes from the Bronx— Chris Taylor (@christaylor_nyc) January 29, 2018
Stay woke people
Don’t worry, you’re not late to the party. We just found out, too.
I don't know if I'm just late to the party, but Haagen Dazs ice cream is completely American and started in the Bronx...had no idea.— Liam Beatus (@notliambeatus) February 15, 2017
Though, now that we think about it, it IS pretty funny that Mattus’s trick worked. We totally fell for it.
At the end of the day, we’re glad we’re supporting another American-owned business. U.S.A.!
Wherever Häagen-Dazs comes from, we’re just glad it exists. Because ice cream is the best.
Look at those layers. What would we do without those layers?
Or these ice cream bars? They’re so deliciously decadent.
The next time we’re at the store, we’re definitely picking up some extra Häagen-Dazs. It’ll give us a good laugh.
This calls for some celebratory ice cream. Who’s with us?