11 of the weirdest ice cream flavors from around the globe
I scream, you scream, we all scream for squid ink ice cream?
Think of ice cream, and the default neapolitan (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry) flavors might spring to mind. Or perhaps you're a bit more adventurous with something containing cookie dough, peanut butter or fudge.
But what about squid ink or foie gras? Would you ever reach for a cone with vanilla and hot peppers or chocolate and cicadas?
Below are 11 of the most bizarre and tastebud-alarming ice cream flavors from around the globe. While many are invented for the sheer purpose of watching people's faces as they try them, others actually sound somewhat intriguing. Let's turn Mr. Softee on his head and grab a cone of ...
1. Pit Viper Ice Cream
Straight from Japan, where bizarre ice cream flavors are the norm, comes this lovely creation featuring ground up snake. Apparently, pit vipers are a real problem in Japan, with some 2,000 to 3,000 people every year bitten by the venomous mamushi and Okinawan habu snakes. Unfortunately for the snakes, they're also regarded by the Japanese as an aphrodisiac and have consequently found themselves offered up in both ice cream and even alcohol. According to this guy, it tastes like almonds and garlic. And snake.
2. Foie Gras Ice Cream
For some people, the fattened liver of a duck or goose is a delicious delicacy – and these people must be thrilled, because foie gras ice cream is actually starting to catch on around the globe. Created in a Parisian ice cream shop (naturally), this meaty flavor can now be found in specialty shops around the Eastern U.S. For those bold enough, there are even recipes online for making your own. As for a verdict on flavor, reports say it's good, but only if you don't think about what you're eating.
3. Halva Ice Cream
Why do ice cream parlors try odd flavors? Because there are some ice cream lovers who are bored of butter pecan and rocky road, and they're looking for a rare treat.
"We were wandering around the [Jaffa] flea market [in Tel Aviv] and then we saw the Capitolina sign," photographer Noam Zomerfeld told From the Grapevine. "We went in, read their cute(sy) sign about the mythological Capitolinnim – little snow gnomes who eat only ice cream and had to try their ice cream. I was going for their weirder flavors, I couldn't resist but getting the Halva ice cream (sugar free? even more challenging to make, I guess)." Halva is the dense, sweet confection made from tahini, honey and ground sesame seeds that is often more of a pasty candy than a creamy treat, making Halva ice cream a delicious combination.
4. Lobster Ice Cream
The large plastic lobster in front of Ben and Bill's in Bar Harbor, Maine, home of lobster ice cream. (Photo: Lee Coursey/Flickr)
By this point, it's clear that if it once lived, it's likely going to find its way into ice cream. The one and only lobster ice cream originated from a shop in Bar Harbor, Maine, that offered the buttered crustacean as a flavor to prove to its customers that all of its ice cream was homemade. Was there seriously no other way to deliver that message? As you would expect, it tastes like buttered lobster in ice cream. So ... terrible.
5. Hummus Ice Cream
We love hummus. Maybe you love hummus, too. Would you eat hummus-infused ice cream? The owner of the La Genda Italian ice cream shop in Israel said he came up with it because he's “a hummus freak."
"I always thought that one day we should make ice cream out of hummus, and after many experiments, we checked the right temperature, the right kind of grains, and achieved the perfect product,” Michael Mina told an Israeli television station, according to a report on ABC News.
La Genda offers a concoction of ground chickpeas, tahini, vanilla and sugar – resulting in what one hummus aficionado described as "more like lemony halva." Given the choice between this and Pit Viper, we'll take three scoops.
6. Squid Ink Ice Cream
Squid ink-flavored ice cream at the Tsukiji Market in Japan. (Photo: avlxyz/Flickr)
Just when you were feeling a little calmer after the hummus. Thankfully, perhaps the only disconcerting thing about squid ink ice cream is that it's jet black. The flavor is described as bland, but not necessarily fishy. Still, squid ink. Ugh. I'll stick with chocolate sprinkles.
7. Cold Sweat Ice Cream
Have you ever thought your ice cream could use, oh I don't know, more pain? The psychopaths over at Sunni Sky's Ice Cream in North Carolina decided to invent a flavor so horribly unenjoyable that they require you to sign an extensive waiver form before you try it. And it's not just some hot sauce mixed with vanilla ice cream. Oh no. Sunni's stirs in pecan peppers, tai chilies and habaneros marinaded in “Mega Death Hot sauce,” “Insanity Sauce” and a bit of ghost pepper chili sauce. The common reaction to anyone trying it is generally this. If you try the Cold Sweat, you're not going to have a good time.
8. Glow-in-the-Dark Ice Cream
To solve the apparently very real problem of people losing their ice cream in a darkened movie theater, food designers Bompas and Parr infused mint chocolate chip ice cream with vitamin B2. The theater owners then installed a giant black light in the theater to make the ice cream glow and, voila! Creepy. Inspired by that success, the team also took the same enzymes that make fireflies and jellyfish glow and infused them into "fancy dessert sauces." Genetically modified organism flavoring has never tasted so good.
9. Cicada Ice Cream
With plenty of recipes online for consuming cicadas, it makes sense that the large insect would also find its way into ice cream. Back in 2011, one such parlor in the Midwest decided to offer its customers just that – complete with cicada wings as a garnish. Apparently people loved it, saying that they tasted like peanuts. You'll get your next opportunity to try it in 2024, when the next batch of cicadas emerges to become ice cream.
10. Astronaut Ice Cream
Astronaut ice cream is as dry and crumbly as you remember it. (Photo: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr)
I'm willing to bet that there isn't a single person out there who has managed to finish a package of astronaut ice cream. If they have, it's only because someone bet them. Even as a kid, I remember being super excited about the first bite and then less-than-thrilled after the second or third. Inevitably, the stuff either found its way between the car seat cushions or the bowl of the family dog. I'm pretty sure he hated it, too. Not surprisingly, astronauts weren't fond of the stuff either – with freeze-dried ice cream only making an appearance on one Apollo mission. According to one NASA food scientist, "it wasn't that popular."
11. Crocodile Egg Ice Cream
Crocodile egg ice cream is what happens when an ice cream parlor sets up shop next to a crocodile park. With a fresh supply of croc eggs readily available, Sweet Spot Artisan Ice Cream of Davao City, Philippines, decided to replace its usual recipe calling for chicken eggs with the reptilian version. The result, according to one enthusiastic blogger, is a "sweet, creamy and thick" ice cream that is "really delicious." The croc egg ice cream comes in three versions: crocodile durian, crocodile pandan and crocodile dragon fruit.
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