15 Ice Cream Flavors You Didn’t Know Existed
Sure, you could sate that persistent summertime ice cream craving with one of the classics. But why not live on the edge this season? Instead of opting for mint chocolate chip (again), sample one of these slightly more unconventional flavors:
1. UBE YAMS
Ube yams, which grow in warm regions around the world, are purple root vegetables that possess about the same nutritional value as other yam varieties. But because they taste much sweeter, they’re often incorporated into desserts—including ice cream, thanks to one Hawaii-based brand.
Maine’s obsession with lobster knows no bounds. Fans of the crustacean can now eat chunks mixed with butter-flavored ice cream at one Pine Tree State eatery.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Scottish delicacy, haggis is traditionally made by stuffing a cow’s stomach with the heart, lung, and liver of a sheep, beef suet (fat), oatmeal, and other decidedly non-desserty ingredients. It’s hard to imagine what that would taste like as a frozen treat, but it has been done, created especially for a farm festival in—where else—Scotland.
4. SQUID INK
Squid ink (or sometimes cuttlefish ink) is used in a variety of Japanese dishes and provides a distinctive deep hue. Some claim they can hardly taste it—yes, even in sweet dishes like ice cream—while others say it adds a fishy flavor to foods both sweet and savory.
Move over, bacon: One San Francisco parlor thinks it’s prosciutto’s time to shine, specifically in non-traditional settings. Like your ice cream dish.
One way to handle a loud insect invasion? Boil them, add brown sugar and milk, and turn them into ice cream. Just make sure you catch enough to freeze and save for later, because it may be another 13 years before they return.
7. CHEDDAR CHEESE
If you’re cool with the idea of doubling down on your dairy intake, cheese-flavored ice cream is a real thing that really exists. To help you identify it in the freezer section, some brands sell the ice cream as Quezo Real, which translates to “real cheese.” It’s also hard to miss, because it’s the color of a block of cheddar.
8. PIG’S BLOOD
Outside of traditional dishes, such as black pudding and blood sausage, animal blood is generally discarded during food preparation. But recently, some chefs have been experimenting with other ways to turn the iron and protein-rich liquid into a useable ingredient. One food lab has even managed to use it as an egg substitute in ice cream and other dessert recipes, in the hopes of finding a culinary solution for people with egg allergies.
Very few condiments have the kind of devoted fan base that sriracha has. If you’re looking for something cold that also delivers a kick, sriracha-topped vanilla ice cream may become your go-to order.
10. GREEN JALAPEÑO
Apparently green jalapeño sauce results in a “tangy” ice cream flavor. For those who prefer to DIY, you can purchase tubs of this ice cream mix, which comes with instructions so there’s no guess-work.
One London-based kitchen chemist has experimented with using grass, hay, and pine needles as flavors for his liquid nitrogen-frozen ice creams. If you’re going to try this at home, you may want to add in a few traditional ice cream ingredients to make the overall experience a little sweeter.
12. CINNAMON RAMEN
Ramen has become incredibly trendy over the past couple years, but the Japanese dried noodles have been around for quite some time. One Baltimore shop decided to reinvent the Asian staple, chopping up noodles with cinnamon to create a one-of-a-kind ice cream flavor.
13. SORGHUM AND GRITS
Sorghum syrup is a sweetener made from the cane of sorghum, a tall grain plant, grown primarily across the Great Plains. One Kentucky-based chef decided to mix the syrup with grits (coarsely ground corn) and sugars to make an ice cream that we think qualifies as an acceptable breakfast food.
14. COW TONGUE
Sold as a novelty ice cream in Japan, cow tongue ice cream is exactly what you think it is. Keep in mind that the general rule is to not knock something until you’ve tried it, so we’re going to go ahead and bite our, well, tongues.
15. GRILLED EGGPLANT
You can always count on Japan to push the envelope. In addition to cow tongue ice cream, you can also sample grilled eggplant-flavored ice cream while you’re there. (Maybe don’t try combining the two, though.)