Forget about chocolate and vanilla! Unless they’re covered in wasabi pea dust, they’re just so basic. New flavors of ice cream are being developed by your local fancy ice cream shop or gelateria every day.
With 365 days in a year to try them all, how could anyone settle for the same old staples over and over? Maybe it’s because you’ve seen some of the flavors out there that sound barely edible (Foie gras and raw horse flesh flavors are REAL!).
This delicious, and sometimes off-putting, trend isn’t necessarily new, but the boundaries are being pushed right now in directions no one could have predicted, and it’s being done by an increasing number of mom-and-pop ice cream shops across America.
Ice cream in the USA (and beyond)
Ice cream was introduced to the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes from Europe. Ice cream could be found at confectioners shops in major cities, like New York, during the colonial era.
U.S. President James Madison was served ice cream at his inaugural ball in 1813 because Dolly Madison knew that her husband was a fan of the dessert, just like some of his presidential predecessors; George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.
Ice cream saw a boom once cheap refrigeration became available in the second half of the 20th century. There was also an explosion of ice cream shops and flavors. Howard Johnson’s restaurants advertised a world of 28 flavors; Baskin-Robbins made its 31 flavors or one for every day of the month. The company now boasts that it has developed over 1000 varieties.
The most popular flavors of ice cream in North America, based on consumer research studies, have always been vanilla and chocolate.
Here are the top 10 ice cream consuming countries (and their volume consumed per capita) are:
- Australia (13.7L)
- USA (13.7L)
- New Zealand (13.3L)
- Sweden (11.7L)
- Ireland (10.2L)
- Denmark (9.3L)
- Israel (9.3L)
- Canada (9.1L)
- Finland (8.5L)
- Norway (8.4L)
And these are the top 10 ice cream consuming American cities (and their volume consumed per capita) are:
- Long Beach, CA
- Dallas, TX
- Philadelphia, PA
- Columbus, OH
- Milwaukee, WI
- Fort Worth, TX
- Washington, DC
- Bakersfield, CA
- Fresno, CA
- Portland, OR
Weird flavors are constantly being explored in all parts of the United States. You’ll see from our list there’s no correlation between strange flavors and the cities that eat the most ice cream.
Most of these strange ice creams we mention are from major cities where having something new could help keep an ice cream shop competitive. Another factor may be that immigration has caused some cultural spillover, turning new tastes into tasty ice creams.
10. CATCHING FIRE (The Ice Cream Store, Rehoboth Beach)
Fortune favors the bold, and only the bold would favor this dangerous cone from The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach. Volunteer to try this incendiary melange of fruit flavors and you’ll receive just that, topped with a real scorpion (eek!).
How it tastes: The orange-colored African Vanilla ice cream with orange juice, mango, and strawberry swirl, ice cream is heavenly. Note: Skip the scorpion.
9. AVOCADO WITH MINT & SOUR CREAM (Creole Creamery, New Orleans)
This one would have made it higher on the list if avocado hadn’t become the “it” ingredient for so many delicious dairy-free, vegan or gluten free foods these days. The philosophy for this ice cream’s New Orleans’ birthplace, Creole Creamery is Eat ice cream. Be happy. So simple for an establishment that makes us choose from dozens of incredible ice creams, sorbets, and ices.
How it tastes: The mint elevates the avocado, and the sour cream helps it slide right down your throat.