Edgar Wright's Cornetto Obsession Has Nothing To Do With Filmmaking

"Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz," and "The World's End" make up an unusual trilogy. They're not linked by a narrative, but by a common cast; each film stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and is directed by Edgar Wright. There's also a more obscure connection: Each film features a brief appearance by the Italian ice cream brand Cornetto. The flavor of ice cream in each even corresponds to the movies' color schemes; strawberry/red for "Shaun of the Dead," classic/blue in "Hot Fuzz," and mint/green in "The World's End."

The ice cream was never to be important to the films, but according to Wright, at the "Shaun" premiere afterparty, they gave out free strawberry Cornettos. Wright and Pegg thus repeated the reference in "Hot Fuzz" in hopes history would repeat (it didn't). Even so, they couldn't do the third film without completing the gag. Still, why was this specific ice cream even mentioned in "Shaun of the Dead"? With how much of a self-admitted movie geek that Wright is, you might think it's related to movies. You'd be wrong.

Why Cornetto?

While breaking down scenes from his movies for Vanity Fair, Wright shared a personal anecdote that influenced "Shaun of the Dead":

"It's worth pointing out that the reason [Shaun] eats the strawberry Cornetto is that when I was at art college, and I was very hungover, I had a hankering for some ice cream in the morning and it really helped my hangover. And after that, for a very long time, the Cornetto became my hangover cure. I don't know if there's any medical basis in that idea, but I like to believe that it's true."

So there you have it. If Wright hadn't spent his nights drinking while attending Arts University Bournemouth, the "Cornetto trilogy" might not be what it is. 

Maybe Gary King and co. should have packed a few Cornettos on their Golden Mile pub crawl; waking up to discover they brought about a new dark age probably worsened their hangovers. Still, before you go taking Wright's advice, let's investigate; is ice cream as a hangover cure at all medically sound?

Further investigation

Advice listicles on dealing with hangovers generally don't mention ice cream, least of all Cornetto. Foods that do recur include eggs (for the protein) and bananas (for the potassium). However, Wright isn't the only one to offer up ice cream as the hangover panacea.

South Korean chain store Withme FS sells Gyeondyo-bars, a grapefruit-flavored ice cream bar advertised as a hangover cure. "Gyeondyo" translates to "hang in there," the encouragement that many need when dealing with a hangover. These bars are not South Korea's first attempt at hangover curing products; there's also the "Hut-gae Condition" beverage and skin creams.

According to Reuters, the common ingredient in these products is oriental raisin tree fruit juice. This extract has been cited as a hangover remedy in Korean medicine since the 17th century, and a 2012 article in the Journal of Neuroscience found that the juice reduced intoxication in rats.

Where the juice does not appear as an ingredient is in the listed ingredients of a Cornetto cone. Either Wright was very lucky or there's an undiscovered secret to hangover cures hidden somewhere within the cane sugar and cocoa powder.