From his writings as a young man, we know that Eugene loved Italian ice cream. Here he is a bit peeved that he sees other priests enjoying it, while he had given it up for lent. It also gives us an insight into his Lenten fast. This was a private entry in his diary and not intended for others to read.
This evening there was a grand reception at the French Ambassador’s for the promotion of Cardinal de Latil… I stayed only a minute at our Ambassador’s to honour our cardinal since I never go out in the evenings to these large gatherings. I soon left to return to my monastery, saddened to see with my own eyes a great number of people, even priests, applying ice-cream to their consciences, in spite of the Lenten fast; it is possible that ice-cream can be considered a liquid which does not break the fast, for it melts in one’s mouth; in my opinion, it cruelly offends the spirit of mortification, from which a person should not dispense oneself so easily during this holy time.
I admit that fasting would cost me less if I took a good cup of chocolate in the morning, a cup of coffee after dinner, an ice-cream in the evening preceded, an hour before, by a glass of lemonade, and finally a lunch. Actually, I would not take as much on a feast day, even on Easter Sunday
Roman Diary, 13 March 1826, EO XVII
“Ice-cream is exquisite – what a pity it isn’t illegal.” Voltaire