The quintessential British summer seaside treat...the 99 ;)
A crunchy wafer cone stamped with panels of waffle pattern holding a swirl of soft vanilla ice cream with a chocolate flake stuck into the side.
No-one really knows where the name "99" comes from...
One idea is that the '99' was coined in Portobello, Scotland in 1922 by the Arcari family. They sold ice-creams with half a large 'Flake', and gave it the name because the shop was at 99 High Street.
Another possibility is that it was named in 1899 by Italian ice-cream sellers in honour of the final wave of conscripts from the First World War - "i Ragazzi del 99" - the Boys of '99. They were held in such high esteem that some streets in Italy were named in honour of them. The chocolate flake may have reminded them of the Alpine Regiment's hat, with a long dark feather cocked at an angle.
Another suggestion is that the initials of "Ice Cream", IC, form the Roman numerals for 99 (being 100 - 1). The problem of this theory is that the number 99 is not written like this but as XCIX.
One more explanation suggests that the original length of the flake chocolate bar was 99mm, but this is an unlikely explanation as the chocolate bar preceded the introduction of the metric system to the UK.
I love 99 cones..they remind me of the long hot summers that seem to fill my rose tinted childhood and of the tinkling music of ice cream vans. The fact they melted very fast and you had to constantly lick the ice cream rivulets off the outside of the cone and even the point, as the cone inevitably split and the liquid dripped through the bottom, made it a race against time to finish the 99 before it ended up in a puddle!