Ice Cream Flags

by David Koski, Vexilloid Tabloid #59

When I was young I would often see half-gallon cartons of ice cream packed with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors.  It was called “Neapolitan”, a good item for a big family like ours, because we needed our choices.

Neapolitan Ice Cream

margheritaThat came to mind recently when  reading an article about the history of pizza, recounting the legendary origin of the Margherita pizza around 1889.  A baker made three different pizzas for a visit by King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy.  The queen favored a one evoking the Italian flag’s colors—green (basil leaves), white (mozzarella), and red (tomatoes).

The story reminded me that the carton of Neapolitan ice cream revealed a tricolor pattern when opened.  I wondered, does Neapolitan ice cream have any connection to the city of Naples?  What does the flag of Naples look like?

Flag of Naples

Hmm, that can’t be right—mustard and  catsup?

Well, there is still a presumed connection to Naples, or at least to late-19th-century Neapolitan immigrants to the U.S., so I see no reason why there can’t be a Neapolitan Ice Cream Flag, something to which ice cream eaters can pledge summertime allegiance.  Done!  The colors are Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry—unfortunately not standard flag fabric colors.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Flag

I soon recalled the other multi-colored Italian ice cream (which I always sample when I eat at The Spaghetti Factory): spumoni (singular: spumone), which typically combines three flavors with a fruit/nut layer in between.

Spumoni Ice Cream

Where did it come from?  The story is that it was created in a Sicilian pasticceria run by the Lo Monaco family.  What does the flag of Sicily look like?  More mustard and catsup?

Flag of Sicily

No, there needs to be a Spumoni Ice Cream Flag.  Done!  The colors are Cherry, Chocolate, and Pistachio.  Again, not standard flag fabric colors, but very tasty!  I tried a version with bits of cherry and pistachio on their respective fields, but that was too much.

Spumoni Ice Cream Flag

So here they are:  two ice cream flags for your summertime enjoyment.  I’m stopping here, but there are almost unlimited opportunities for other ice cream flags, as well as pizza flags, cookie flags, and so on.  The day may come when all of us will be able to express pride in our favorite foods by flying their flags.

Editor’s Note:  It turns out that there is prior art regarding the Neapolitan Ice Cream flag. (The internet is indeed vast.) The blogger Benjamin Weber aka Lairor posted “The Unveiling of the Ice Cream Flag” in July 2009.  He was inspired by the Newfoundland Tricolor.

Bruce Weber’s Neapolitan Ice Cream flag, 2009.
The Newfoundland Tricolor.


The image at the top of this post, of a US flag with scoops of ice cream in the canton, is from a sewing project at

1 thought on “Ice Cream Flags”

  1. It’s good to know that Bruce Weber had the sense to put chocolate at the haft, where it belongs by nature. Don’t ask me why…

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