I scream, you scream, you know how it goes. With the summer heat blazing a trail across the country there’s one sure-fire and beloved tradition to beating the heat: Good ol’ fashioned ice-cream. Creamy, cool, flavorful, velvety textured ice-cream. The tasty iced treat in all its dreamy incarnations may seem relatively modern but it’s actually been around since the second century B.C. While there were no ice cream trucks back then, there is evidence that Alexander the Great liked to indulge in snow and ice flavored with honey. Resourceful! Even during the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar sent his assistants to the hills to collect snow that was then topped with fruits and juices.
Eventually it was Marco Polo who returned to his hometown of Italy, after adventuring in the middle east, with a recipe for what is today known as sorbet. The recipe slowly evolved until the first recorded account of the treat, in a 1744 letter by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen. 33 years later, ice-cream hit the newsstands when confectioner Philip Lenzi announced to the world that ice-cream was here to stay. And stay it did – since its inception, ice-cream has been a much loved treat that’s universally admired by common folk and celebrities alike. It’s reported that president George Washington was such a mega fan he spent $200 on ice-cream in the summer of 1790. That’s about $5000 by today’s standards. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and imagine he held many an ice-cream party during an unprecedented heat wave.
While some of us stick with the Neapolitan tradition, many of us have ventured out to try the weird and wonderful flavors ice-cream creators have invented for us over the years. But these days it’s a whole new world. Pushing the boundary between creative and insane, these ten ice-creams are not for weak stomachs or old-fashioned sensibilities. Gird your loins for ten of the world’s weirdest flavors.
If you haven’t tried this, one word of warning: don’t. Remember that episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, when Andy Samberg said Hitchcock’s mouth smelled like “Rotten trout milk”? Yeah, well that about sums it up.
Durian is actually a fruit famous in Southeast Asia. It possesses a dramatic smell that can be compared to onions, or raw sewage, depending on who you ask. That doesn’t stop it from being a popular flavor at British Columbia’s Mario’s Gelati.
9. Squid ink
Japan is leading the way in outlandish ice-cream flavors that will test even the most open minded foodie. Along with the jet-black Squid Ink ice-cream, the different taste sensations at Tokyo’s indoor amusement park Namja Town include raw horse flesh and cow’s tongue. If you’re ever looking to win a bet and really make the other person pay, take them to Namja town’s Ice Cream City and treat ’em to a scoop here before sending them off on the nearest rollercoaster ride.
Known as Tako Aisu in Japan, this Octopus ice-cream is a hit with locals, who consider the cephalopods a delicacy. We bet you’re thinking, “well, it’s Octopus flavor,” and surely there wouldn’t be actual tentacles thrown in there? Well, you’d be wrong. A YouTube video by tourist Kevin Cooney at Ice Cream City takes viewers on his wild and weird adventure of testing these strange ice-creams. He discovered, in the Octopus choice, an actual sucker. This is one flavor where chunky bits aren’t welcome.
7. Sardine & Christmas Tree
A Seattle chef is taking his wacky palette to the desert menu at his popular eatery, Fraudulent. The dish, actually called Nordic Delight, is topped with a locally-sourced sardine. The flavor of the ice-cream itself comes from fir trees. Seriously. The tree-needle essence comes from locally discarded Christmas trees for a woodsy taste. It’s mixed with churned goat’s milk. This is definitely one very fishy desert.
6. Breast Milk
In London, England, an ice-cream shop called Ice Creamists, located in Covent Garden, caused some controversy when it began appealing for breast-milk contributions to make its ice-cream flavor they dubbed, “Baby Gaga.” The donated milk was mixed with lemon zest, and Madagascan Vanilla pods for a dubious new twist on an old classic. The dish is a whopping 14 pounds, or just under $24 US. The high price must have to account for the, ahem, labour costs.
5. Spaghetti and Cheese
An ice-cream shop in Venezuela by the name of Heladeria Coromoto is known for its bonkers flavors and its incredible variety of choices. With 900 and counting they are arguably the biggest little ice-cream shop in the world. Their Spaghetti and Cheese hits a creamy and noodley note with standard dinner ingredients turned on their head in this ice… treat.
4. Mushy Peas and Fish
England offers another stomach-turning delight in the realm of “WTF”. Teare Woods Luxury Ice Cream Parlour offers up two scooped delights – one scoop of Minty Mushy Pea ice-cream with one scoop of Fish ice-cream, in a nod to the classic British ‘fish and chips’ meal. This is not your Grandma’s sundae. The scoops are topped with battered cod and a French Fry.
The Sweet Spot artisan ice-cream shop in the Philippines is cashing in on coveted croc with Crocodile Egg ice-cream. Made with the actual reptile eggs, owners of the shop have told the media that they’re run off their feet by the popularity of the treat. Popular and healthy. Crocodile eggs contain less cholesterol. The high protein ingredient comes from unhatched eggs at a nearby crocodile farm…
Mmm… creamy frozen sheep innards. Harrod’s famous food hall in London took ice-cream to the extreme by rendering the already unusual traditional Scottish dish into an ice-cream flavor. Morelli’s created the desert with ingredients that include sheep heart, liver and lungs with minced onion, suet (aka: mutton fat), spices and salt. An ice-cream scooper at Morelli’s told the press this flavor was quite strong, but smooth in texture rather than chunky.
Yes, as in the insect. Sparky’s homemade ice-cream shop, in Columbia, Mo., sold out of their “unique” batch of Cicada ice-cream when their employees went out on a limb, literally, to collect the bugs. After removing the wings and boiling them, the cicadae were coated in brown sugar and chocolate, adding them to a sugar and butter flavored ice-cream base for a very odd update on the classic “Rocky Road.”