It’s warming up, and if you’re coping with quarantine by eating your feelings the way I am, you’re stocking up on ice cream along with baking banana bread and tending to your sourdough starter. Thankfully, grocery stores haven’t had to enforce purchasing limits for desserts yet, the way they have with toilet paper, meat products, bleach, and hand soap. Which means you’re free to splurge on your frozen favorites. Ben and Jerry’s has long reigned supreme for the most ambitious and delicious flavors out there. They have a Flavor Lab, where Flavor Guru’s (that’s an actual job), fine tune the next flavors to drop from the ice cream moguls.
Some companies go a different direction. Instead of can’t lose combinations like pretzels and caramel, or chocolate and more chocolate. They mix up some bizarre flavors just to see if they can. Here are five of the strangest.
The marketing is really to blame here, no one wants to think about eating “flesh”. The source? Japan’s Ice Cream City inside the Namco-Namjatown indoor amusement park. A visitor in 2010 described it as, “much more sinister than you imagine.” Hard to imagine any ice cream as sinister, but there’s a section of the museum focused on weird flavors, like Horse Flesh. There’s also Cow Tongue, Squid, Snake, and even Crab.
Called “Alaska’s favorite dessert,” it’s not a true ice cream, but a whipped animal fat dessert. The recipe calls for animal fat from reindeer or seal, (Crisco will work for the lower 48), fish, sugar, and berries. Families have their own recipes, passed down through generations. You whip air into the animal fat, creating a light, fluffy foam. You’ll find it at family gatherings and celebrations, or just eaten as a spread or a snack.
Devil’s Breath Carolina Reaper Pepper
At the Ice Cream Storeon the boardwalk of Rehoboth in Delaware, you can wrestle with ghost peppers in ice cream form. It’s a simple base of red vanilla ice cream with a strawberry ribbon, mixed with cinnamon and the world’s hottest pepper,, Ed’s Carolina Reaper Pepper Mash. Anyone who wants even a taste of this intense flavor must first sign a waiver.
Found at il Laboratorio del Gelato in the Lower East Side of New York, there are dozens of gelato flavors divided into categories like Savory, Fruit, and Sweet. There are plenty of old standards, like Birthday Cake, Chocolate and Red Velvet. But head over to the website and you can do a deep dive into the bizarre. Like Carrot, Taro, and Cheddar Cheese.
At Wing Ice Cream in Honolulu, Hawaii, you can look metal even while enjoying a frozen treat. The speciality cone is a scoop of black sesame ice cream topped with blueberry lavender. Are there goths in Hawaii? This one’s for you.