As National Ice Cream month comes to a close, I thought I’d share some of the more… unique… ice cream flavors I’ve come across in my years of travel. Ice cream (or any dessert, really) is most certainly my vacation budget luxury – when on a trip, it always seems the perfect treat after a day of sightseeing, and it pairs well with everything from a nice meal to a cup of coffee.
When given the option, would you try any of these flavors, or would you stick with vanilla?
Pear with Blue Cheese – Salt & Straw – Portland, OR
Portland’s Salt & Straw ice cream shop reflects the city’s eclectic vibe when it comes to food. (After all, we have mac and cheese stores, grilled cheese trucks, cupcakes with potato chips, and french fries with peanut butter & jelly.) One of the shop’s popular inventions is the pear with blue cheese. The richness of blue cheese has been perfectly balanced with the sweet flavor of harvested pears from Salem, Oregon as the perfect compliment.
If that seems too radical for you, try their olive oil ice cream – one of my favorite “oddball” flavors, as the oil makes the ice cream smooth and really refreshing. Seriously, try it.
Wasabi – Sundaes and Cones – East Village, New York City, NY
Given the level of Asian-inspired flavors in NYC’s East Village, this ice cream shop joins the fray with a wasabi-inspired delicacy. Do not worry too much though; the overpowering effect of real wasabi is not too intense on this sweet ice cream flavor.
Avocado – Chinatown Ice Cream Factory – Chinatown, New York City, NY
Leave it to New York to represent the full spectrum. A thick and creamy combination of the true avocado flavor can now be enjoyed at this particular location when you visit New York City, its overall uniqueness and sweetness is beyond the point of indulgence for who wander in to try something new.
Licorice – Fosselman’s – Los Angeles, CA
Fans of licorice can now take their salty-sour taste sensations to a new level while diving into Fosselman’s intensely black-colored ball of ice cream on top of a cone or cup. I personally cannot stand licorice, so you’re on your own on this one. (Also, I think the color of the ice cream affects the flavor. No?)
Bacon – The Ice Cream Store – Rehoboth Beach, DE
If you are a fan of bacon (who isn’t?), you are guaranteed to love bacon ice cream, a peculiar ice cream flavor that is found everywhere, but that the Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach has mastered. Their flavor is heavily mixed with bacon bits, bacon-based cream and African vanilla ice cream, giving you bacon ice cream that is actually enjoyable. Beware of any “bacon-inspired” ice creams that have nothing but that lingering taste of liquid smoke. Blech.
Foie Gras & Caviar – Phillipe Faur – Paris, France
French gastronomy is unlike any other at all times, even when it comes to ice cream flavors. A local ice cream shop in the center of Paris has created a magnificent gourmet ice cream flavor consistent with this over-the-top philosophy, combining a smooth ice cream base with a bit of foie gras and a unique touch of caviar. If that’s just too decadent for you, be glad it wasn’t pigeon ice cream, then head to Berthillon on Ile Saint Louis – it is the best ice cream in Paris.
Secret Breakfast – Humphry Slocombe – San Francisco, CA
One of my personal favorites, this hipster-ish, quirky ice cream joint in San Fran provides patrons with a variety of experimental combinations, such as the ever popular “secret breakfast“: bourbon and cornflakes. It’s surprisingly tasty and I definitely recommend it as the perfect nightcap after dinner.
Sheep Intestines – Morelli’s Harrod’s Food Hall – London, Great Britain
Although I’m one of few who would readily raise my hand to say that I love haggis, I’m not sure I want haggis in my dairy. This treat from Morelli’s comes complete with haggis and a sweet cream, blended altogether with sausage and a touch of vanilla. I do love the food court at Harrod’s, but methinks I’ll be sticking to another one of their Scottish-inspired ice cream flavors: shortbread.
Garlic – La Casa Gelato – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Eating a single glove of garlic can be quite an unpleasant experience, even if one is not a vampire; however, tasting a sweet combination of garlic as an ice cream cone is actually quite pleasant. And why not enjoy it at La Casa Gelato, one of our favorite places to eat and drink in Vancouver BC. They have 219 other flavors should you not have the courage to sample this one, or if you need fresh breath later in the day.
Cucumber Cream – La Casa de Los Helados – Santiago, Chile
Vegetables and ice cream flavors really do not match, but there is one amazing exception in this particular ice cream shop in the city of Santiago, Chile. A cucumber cream based ice cream flavor, full of sweetness and a creamy texture, ideal for a sweet afternoon treat.
Sardines & Brandy – Heladería Coromoto – Merida, Venezuela
Recognized as the world’s craziest place for ice cream flavors by Guiness Records (860 flavors at last count, I believe), this ice cream shop is world-famous for offering the freakiest flavors such as Sardines & Brandy. One of our readers called it “incomparable.” Other eye-opening flavors at this shop include cheeseburger (with a bit of french fry flaire included, free of charge), eggs, macaroni and cheese, and even a power-blue treat called Viagra hope – thankfully that only includes honey and pollen.
Octopus – Shinjuku Marketplace – Tokyo, Japan
I’m still planning my big trip to Tokyo and curious what the Japanese do for their ice cream. The choices are, well, interesting. One trendy choice right now seems to be Octopus, which isn’t surprising as fish-based desserts are popular in Asia. Octopus ice cream is said to have a rich flavor and is colored purple. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I’m certainly more interested in that than a dish of basashi ice, which is an ice cream with tiny chunks of blended raw horsemeat.
Parmesan Cheese – Gelateria dei Neri – Florence, Italy.
Given the heavy consumption of cheese and pasta in Italy, this ice cream shop in the center of Florence has created a rich and creamy innovation of the Italian classic; while Florence has more ice cream and gelato shops than maybe anywhere else in the world, you’ll have to look long and hard to find something more unique than paremesan cheese ice cream!
Chili Pepper – Azabu Solo Ice Cream Store – Singapore City, Singapore
Last, but not least, we end with a bit of zing. Chili pepper flavored ice cream is now being offered at this special location in the center of Singapore, a dish popular with locals for its innovative combination of sweet, hot and spicy tastes. I’m not sure if this one is for me, but we should definitely alert the folks over in New Mexico.