3. FIG & FRESH BROWN TURKEY (Il Laboratorio del Gelato, NYC)
The sweet-toothed scientists at New York City’s Il Laboratorio del Gelato have never met a flavor they didn’t want to lasso into a bucket of fresh cream and sugar. How else could you explain a Fig & Fresh Brown Turkey gelato, which has earned it’s place among the most popular of their 200 total flavors?
How it tastes: The ice cream has a very real turkey flavor thanks to the turkey drippings that went into the making of it. Add to that the flavor of gorgeously plump and juicy figs and the only thing weird about it is that it’s ice cold.
2. PIZZA (Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Philadelphia)
Little Baby‘s is the kind of shop that isn’t afraid of having just as many savory flavors as sweet flavors available to scoop. During the time of writing this piece, offerings included Dill Pickle, Earl Grey Sriracha, Everything Bagel and Ranch. And after all of those flavors, pizza doesn’t seem so out of place. Curious about how a multi-layered flavor like this gets made? Watch this video about its invention.
How it tastes: The good news is that it does taste like pizza. The bad news is that it’s actually pretty good, so serving it to a friend to gross them out might backfire.
1. HAGGIS (Harrods, London)
Yes, we know Harrods of London isn’t in the United States, but we had to include this international entry because of its disturbing ingredients—real sheep’s innards.
Haggis—the Scottish dish made of sheep innards and traditionally sealed up sausage-style in the stomach—has become a daredevil’s food for everyone but the Scots. And Morelli’s, a shop in the Harrods of London food hall, is both pushing and pulling people into haggis by making it into an ice cream. Morelli’s has also been known to make other Brit comfort foods, like Yorkshire pudding or bangers and mash and one ice cream called “Seriously Stilton”, made from dairy from famed Churchfields Farms.
How it tastes: The haggis taste is strong but it helps that the texture is that of traditional ice cream and resembles nothing of the lumpy and chunky meat that is haggis.
Why do we love the weird flavors? Maybe it’s the curiosity, or the bragging rights or, like most things these days, maybe we just do it for the selfie. Either way, the strange ice cream flavors are the underdog that we want to see make it to the permanent menu, even if we aren’t willing to make pizza ice cream our go-to favorite.
It seems that as long as ice cream lovers have the comfort of seeing vanilla and chocolate on offer, Americans love stepping out of their safety zone and into something a little more complex, or unusual or kitsch.