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30 Crazy Ice Cream Flavors Around the World

By Linnea Covington
June 20, 2013

Forget your basic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream, the time for innovative flavors is here! Ever try a frozen treat made with beets? How about tomato and basil? We have found 30 decidedly not-Baskin-Robbins flavors from all around the world, made with uncommon and tasty ingredients from chorizo to goat cheese and curry powder. What's the strangest ice cream, gelato or sorbet that you've ever tasted? Let us know in the comments.

  • Honey Jalapeño Pickle Ice Cream From Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver

    To get the right pickle for this surprisingly refreshing flavor, the team at Sweet Action Ice Cream teamed up with local pickle company, The Real Dill. They chop up those cukes and add Colorado honey, and then they throw in some spicy bits of fresh jalapeño. All of this gets mixed in with local cream, and, in the end, this unique flavor is a little bit salty, a little bit spicy, and has the underlining sweetness one wants from a frozen dessert. Of course, if savory-spicy ice cream isn’t your thing but you still want something distinctive, try one of their other awesome flavors like honey almond orange blossom, salted butterscotch or olive oil.

  • Rosewater Ice Cream From Mashti Malone in Hollywood, CA

    Using flavors from Iran like saffron, cardamom, pomegranate and sahlab, the dried root of an orchid, owners (and brothers) Mashti and Mehdi Shirvani make some exotic flavors at this Hollywood shop. Think rose sorbet with sour cherry, ginger-rosewater and Turkish coffee ice cream. Funny enough, the name of the shop is part Persian and part Irish, something the brothers didn’t change when they took over Mugsy Malone in 1980.

  • Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel From Black Dog Gelato in Chicago

    Made with tangy goat cheese, salted cashews and stripes of homemade caramel, this flavor of ice cream tastes kind of like cheesecake and has garnered quite the fan club. But that’s not the only unique flavor shop owner and gelato genius Jessica Oloroso had made since the store opened three years ago. She's worked with figs, sesame seeds and chocolate to create an Asian-inspired gelato, and her cucumber rosewater sorbet proves an interesting combination of fresh vegetable with a summery floral essence. In fact, she's inspired by whatever the local farmers bring her.

  • Zen Butter from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory in New York

    The premise for this peanut butter ice cream and white sesame seed dish came over a peaceful bowl of cold sesame noodles with peanut sauce. This isn’t owner Philip Seid's first unique flavor - after all his 36-year-old shop in Chinatown is known for interesting types of ice cream - a feature that draws people in from all over the world - like red bean, black sesame and the love-it-or-hate-it durian fruit.

  • Sweet Corn Gelato From Fornelletto in Atlantic City, NJ

    What do you get when you take sweet Jersey corn and blend it with cream, sugar, sea salt and a little caramel corn, and then top it with some marscapone whipped cream? You get an amazing dessert in an unlikely place, the center of a casino on the Jersey Shore. Make sure you head to the Borgata Hotel Casino soon, as this flavor's only around for a short period of time starting when the corn grows, or about mid-August.

  • Photo by: Linnea Covington

    Jackfruit Ice Cream From Hotel Saravanaa Bhavan in Chennai and Delhi, India

    If you have never had jackfruit before, you should know it tastes like gourmet Juicy Fruit gum, in the best possible way. Occasionally, at this mini Indian chain, they use the fruit to make an awesome ice cream that tastes exactly like the foodstuff. Unfortunately, they don’t sell it at their non-Indian locations, but if you happen to be in Chennai or Delhi, look for it. On that note, make sure to try their watermelon ice cream too - together, they make a pair Vishnu would be proud of.

  • Rosemary Honey Goat's Milk From Capogiro Gelato Artisans in Philadelphia

    Ten years ago, after finding herself with a pound of rosemary, 20 lbs. of honey and gallons upon gallons of goat milk, Stephanie Reitano decided to take the ingredients to her Philly shop and create a unique and totally delicious rosemary, honey and goat’s milk gelato. “Funny enough, I hatched that flavor by mistake,” she said, adding that after a few tries she developed the perfect combination. “Honey creates a roundness to flavors, and it hits every sense. It's earthy and sweet, but not coy. It is also weird and I like that.” It worked out so well, her then 6-year-old daughter loved it - and still does.

  • Wildberry Lavender From Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Columbus, OH

    The bright purple hue of this perky flavor draws people in, but the deep berry with hints of floral cream keeps them licking long after the awe has worn off. Adults and children alike revel in this dish, so it’s no wonder proprietor and best-selling cookbook author Jeni Britton Bauer has continued to serve the flavor since she opened shop in 2002. "Wildberry Lavender was one of the first flavors I made when I opened Jeni's,” she tells us. “I use blueberries, black kerns, lavender and orange zest to flavor. The berries color the cream purple, so the ice cream really stands out in the dipping cabinets in our shops.”

  • Ricanelas From Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco

    What, you may ask, is ricanelas? The way owners Kris Hoogerhyde and Anne Walker make it is with cinnamon and snickerdoodles. But that’s not the only homemade thing: everything from the sauces to the brittle and the toffee gets made in-house, so even if the baked goods end up blended into the ice cream, you know it’s top-notch. Another popular and unique flavor is the brown sugar with ginger caramel, a sweet trip with a pleasing kick to it that somehow makes this cool dish heat up.

  • Creamed Cod Ice Cream From George’s Portobello Fish Bar in London

    Of all the strange flavors we found for this piece, the creamy cod ice cream they serve at this popular fish 'n' chips shop really stands out. Funny enough, it looks just like the hot and savory dishes London is known for, but instead of steaming fried fish, it’s actually ice cream that gets coated with a pepper-vanilla batter and then deep fried. The chips you see are made from potato ice cream, and believe it or not, this dish is real, and it’s up to you to give it a whirl.

  • Tutu’s Anniversary Flavor From Lappert’s in Hanapepe Town, HI

    At Mary Pratt’s darling ice cream shop in Hanapepe Town, they have so many interesting flavors, it’s hard to choose just one. So we aren’t, but we are starting with the Tutu’s Anniversary, which came about when the owners were thinking about a flavor that the local tutus, aka grandmas, might like for a special occasion. Hence, they developed a coconut ice cream layered with fresh lilikoi, or passion fruit, and raspberry sorbet. The shop also offers rich Kona coffee ice cream that gets made with dark, house-roasted local beans, and the Heavenly Hana, an invention chock-full of macadamia nuts, Hawaiian sea salt, chocolate-covered almonds and a dark chocolate ice cream.

  • Photo by: Erin Zimmerman

    Cardamom Ice Cream From Endomela in Acre, Israel

    Chef Uri Buri makes every flavor at this popular Israeli ice cream shop in Acre with 100% natural ingredients, with flavors including cardamom, rose, yogurt lime, poppy seed and wasabi sorbets. Buri, who opened up the Efendi Hotel as well his own restaurant named after himself, pioneered the ice cream scene here in 1990. “We have many special ice creams, all made without any powders or preservation materials,” the white-bearded chef tells us. “We have also many surbe [sorbet] sorts like wasabi, marzipan and more, and it’s made in our ice cream shop next to the restaurant.”

  • Smurf Gelato From Crystal Springs Resort in New Jersey

    At first glance, the powder blue, marshmallow-topped gelato gleaming in a silver bin doesn’t look like something any adult would pick - it’s called Smurf after all. But take just one little bite, and you will surely get hooked on the mature flavor of sweet cream, rich chocolate and fluffy marshmallow. How did pastry cook Jessie Podgurski come up with this fun flavor? Well, even though it’s for everyone, she wanted to make something that would draw especially the kids in and thought the blue hue would do the trick. And what’s blue that every child knows? Smurfs, of course.

  • White Truffle Gelato From Bella Gelateria in Vancouver, CA

    “The only flavor you cannot make is the one you have yet to hear about,” says owner James Coleridge, a graduate of the Italian Culinary Institute and Italy's Gelato University. “My inspiration is the world, my playground is gelato.” With that, Coleridge whips up flavors that tip that hat to different ethnicities, including rosewater, saffron and pistachio for Persians, salted cherry for Japanese and Thai coconut milk with fresh pandan leaves for Filipinos. There are so many exceptional tastes coming out of here, it’s hard to pick just one. However, the white truffle gelato infused with black caviar is just so unusual, it wins the prize for most experimental.

  • Sichuan Pepper Ice Cream From Sbraga in Philadelphia

    After dining at Han Dynasty in Philadelphia, chef Keven Sbraga discovered he actually liked Chinese food and developed an obsession with Sichuan peppercorns. After that, he wanted to find ways to incorporate the ingredient and eventually came up with the Sichuan pepper ice cream, which he serves with cherries jubilee dessert and pistachio cream. Sbraga also makes a smoked strawberry ice cream that he puts up atop a rich red-velvet cake. No wonder the creative chef bested his Top Chef castmates.

  • Banana Curry From Allium in Chicago

    It doesn’t matter that the ice creams at the Four Seasons’ Allium sound like breakfast, lunch and dinner, because they sure taste like dessert. Welcome the banana curry ice cream, a savory and sweet treat that tastes like India - that is, if India froze over. Also on the savory side, try the sesame ice cream with a bright yuzu granite, or for a more fruit-forward treat, the cereal-inspired Fruit Loop blend has you covered. Make sure to dip your tongue in the exotic side of the dessert menu with the blood orange thyme, a sorbet that could very well be made into a boozy frosty drink, which they also offer.

  • White Chocolate and Rose From Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream in South Africa

    Though he grew up in Johannesburg, every year Paul Ballen would go with his New York-born father to the States and marvel at the exciting ice cream culture there. “As I got older, I started to notice the interesting flavor combinations and the increasing number of interesting ice cream stores that were popping up,” he says. “I wondered why South Africa, and more particularly Johannesburg, lacked this.” After Ballen was given an ice cream machine by his mother for his 21st birthday, he became diligent at producing tasty treats. “I was instantly working at mastering the custard-making and creating interesting flavor combinations using the best possible ingredients that I could find,” he says. He got so good at it, he decided to stop giving away his creations and instead opened up a shop. Now, he makes an array of fun flavors, including rooibos tea with dulce de leche, peanut butter with jelly, cinnamon toast and a luscious white chocolate with rose essence.

  • Salt Licorice From Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle

    Every season owner Molly Neitzel creates new and unusual flavors like strawberry sour cream and maple walnut. This month they are dishing out Neitzel’s personal favorite spring flavor, salt licorice, a concoction made with star anise and sea salt. But, on the off chance you miss it, you can be sure some staples will remain the same, including the Scout Mint made with, you guessed it, crushed up Girl Scout Cookies that Neitzel purchases in the thousands directly from the Washington troops.

  • Grapenuts & Raisin From The Frieze Ice Cream and Sorbet in Miami

    At this family run business, they have created all sorts of fun flavors, and the sweet and crunchy Grapenuts & Raisin is just one of them. “Some have been with us for over 20 years, and some are requests by customers,” says owner David Warren. “Many sorbets, for example, are strictly seasonal, like watermelon and cantaloupe, which we only make during the summer when we can get the whole, real fruit at its peak.” Another special flavor they do is the Bosh Frieze Frenzy, a peanut butter ice cream blended with chocolate, fudge and peanuts that tips the hat to Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh and his charity Team Tomorrow.

  • Crammed Jammin’ Cream Doughnut From Tip Top Ice Cream in New Zealand

    It was with some sort of genius that the folks at Tip Top created an ice cream that incorporates donuts, which makes us question, why haven’t we seen that before? It’s no wonder this flavor won a prize at this year’s New Zealand Ice Cream Awards, and last year the International Ice Cream Consortium honored them with the title of Best Ice Cream. In this concoction they have added chunks of sugar donuts and a sweet raspberry sauce to vanilla and cinnamon ice cream, making it taste like a cold jelly donut, a flavor customers and judges obviously love.

  • Photo by: Sara Essex Bradley

    Basil Avocado Ice Cream From SoBou in New Orleans

    Okay, so technically this unique ice cream is used to top and enhance the pineapple-coconut yellowfin tuna tartare, but since it’s technically ice cream and the dish does come in a cone, we think it qualifies. Chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who serves it as a refreshing appetizer, created this savory and sweet menu item that, in sticky Southern heat, is a good way to fill up and cool down.

  • Cracker Jack Gelato From Stellina in New York

    This hole-in-the-wall gelato shop is located in the East Village, right next door to its sister restaurant Sorella. Co-owners Sarah Krathen and Emma Hearst combine their love for fun-flavored American ice cream and traditional Italian gelato. Now, you can get a taste of the fusion with the Cracker Jack, a creamy popcorn gelato with lush swirls of gooey caramel. It’s like the iconic snack, minus the crunch or the decoder ring at the bottom of the cone. But that’s not all: another tribute to American snacks can be found with the Bananimal, a banana gelato laced with caramel and adorable animal crackers.

  • Local Ice Cream Flavors From El Hada in Cusco, Peru

    At this unique shop in Cusco, they use raw milk from a nearby farm, free-range eggs and brown sugar to make exciting flavors like the Hampi Rosa, a blend of cactus fruit and wild cabbage rose, and Mazamorra Violeta, a mixture that uses purple cornflowers. “We have developed many flavors based on Cusco’s traditional sweets such as Empanadita, Dulce and Wawa, and colonial and republican sweets from Lima,” says co-owner Alessandra Pinasco. “We also have flavors based on the wonders that grow here in Cusco.”

  • Kitty Kitty Bang Bang From Scoops Ice Cream in Minnesota

    Though this colorful ice cream parlor in Bloomington doesn’t make its flavors in-house, the owners spend a lot of time gathering delicious and interesting blends from the Midwest. For example, the delightfully strange cream cheese-flavored Kitty Kitty Bang Bang - which also includes a swirl of raspberry, crushed Oreos and soft chocolate chunks - is mixed up by Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream in Madison, WI. They also serve scoops made by Cedar Crest Ice Cream in Cedarberg, WI, and Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream in Minneapolis, who create them especially for Scoops.

  • Whiskey Prune From Simmo’s Ice Creamery in Australia (Multiple Locations)

    Some of the best ice cream can be found Down Under at this Aussie ice cream company, where they leave out the eggs, use local Jersey cow milk and specialize in wacky flavors. One that really stands out is the whiskey prune, a secret Irish recipe comprised of smooth mascarpone ice cream with whiskey-soaked prunes swirled in with a sharp whiskey ripple. For 20 years, this company has been one of the leading purveyors of ice cream in Australia, and with other interesting flavors like forestberry yogurt and apple pie, we can see why.

  • Tequila Ice Cream From Las Ventanas al Paraíso in Mexico

    What better way to relax than to indulge in a heaping cup of tequila-laced ice cream poolside? Yes, we think they have the right idea at this Rosewood Hotel in Baja. Of course, if you don’t want to indulge by the pool, take it up to your luxurious room, nibble a spoonful at the chic bar, or grab it to go and lick your way to the Sea of Cortez.

  • Photo by: Linnea Covington

    Secret Breakfast From Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco

    You could say this tiny shop in the Mission District started the whole artisanal, weird-flavored ice cream movement - or at least, they were the first to garner notoriety with it. While they do many interesting bites - think hibiscus-beet sorbet, foie gras and butter beer - the one that made them famous is the Secret Breakfast, which, thanks to their cookbook, isn’t so much a clandestine combo anymore. The main ingredients are bourbon and corn flakes, a mixture that adds a crunchy, sweet and caramel flavor to the cool treat that can only be followed up by another breakfast staple, a scoop of their Vietnamese Coffee.

  • Goat Cheese With Marionberries and Habanero from Salt & Straw in Portland, OR

    In tune with Portland’s sensibilities, Salt & Straw refers to their small-batch ice cream program as farm-to-cone, meaning they only use all-natural dairy with the best local, sustainable and organic ingredients they can find in the state - and darn it if it isn’t delicious. For a flavor roller coaster, try their exceptional mixtures like the goat cheese ice cream with marionberry jam that’s been infused with fresh habaneros. The goat cheese comes right out of the Willamette Valley from Portland Creamery, and it’s churned with as little air as possible to help give it a creamy base that lets the ingredients shine through.

  • Daily Specials From OddFellows Ice Cream Factory in Brooklyn, NY

    We can’t pin down one favorite flavor at this new ice cream shop in Williamsburg - they change them almost every day. But so far they have produced gems including miso butterscotch cherry, PBJ with toast chunks strewn in, manchego with pineapple, and chorizo caramel swirl (pictured). Yeah, we think they kind of sound like dinner too, but that’s part of the charm. In the end, these creations aren't so surprising given that one of the people behind the shop is innovative chef Sam Mason, as well as husband-and-wife team Mohan and Holiday Kumar.

  • Garden-Flavored Ice Cream at Fenocchio in Nice, France

    Since 1966, this charming store in Nice has been dishing out 94 flavors of ice cream and sorbet to locals, tourists and whoever else happens to pop in. Of course, they have the classics - vanilla, chocolate, strawberry - but what makes them truly special are unique flavors like lavender jasmine and tomato or basil, thyme and rosemary. It’s like a frozen English garden in a cup. Apparently others agree too: these flavors proved so successful, the Fenocchio family opened a second location nearby in 1988.

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