Food trend: weird ice cream flavours

Nicola Heath

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Cigar-smoked caramel ice cream. <i>Credit: Chin Chin Labs</i>
Cigar-smoked caramel ice cream. Credit: Chin Chin Labs

Have you had enough of plain old vanilla ice cream? Would you try cigar-smoked caramel ice cream, or grilled sweetcorn? How about two scoops of breast milk ice cream in your cone?

The wacky icecream trend has spread from the world's best restaurants to gelati bars, ice cream parlours and supermarket freezers.

At Spain's elBulli, named the world's best restaurant a remarkable five times, chef Ferran Adria kicked off the trend when he created parmesan ice cream, served sandwiched between two crispy parmesan tuiles.

Adria wasn't the only top chef to focus his creativity on developing outlandish ice cream flavours. UK's top chef and molecular gastronomist Heston Blumenthal pushed the boundaries with his infamous smoked bacon and egg flavour, a savoury ice cream that is cooked with liquid nitrogen.

Related: Burger King debuts bacon sundae

UK supermarket chain Waitrose has announced plans to expand its Heston by Waitrose range to include a mustard-flavoured ice cream that is both 'hot and sweet', as well as chocolate and rosemary, and salted caramel popcorn.

Matt O'Connor, owner of Icecreamists in Covent Garden, caused a stir in 2011 when he introduced the 'Baby GooGoo', a breast milk infused ice cream, to his parlour's menu.

Chin Chin Laboratorists are also at the forefront of the weird ice cream market in London. As well as 'adults only' cigar-smoked caramel, 'Europe's first liquid nitrogen parlour' has developed a 'Rambutan & Rose' flavour, described as 'exotic floral sorbet with a hint of kaffir lime zest & the texture of snow', and the St Pat's Day special, 'Guinness Cheesecake' with fleur de sel caramel and white chocolate potato chips.

Recipe: Pizza ice cream cake

In the US, Salt and Straw in Portland, Oregon is another 'scoop shop' daring to different, serving unusual flavours like Alberquina olive oil, honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, and pear with blue cheese.

According to one story, the origins of savoury ice cream in modern day cuisine lay in a practical joke.

A dare from a gravy salesman in 1973 prompted Scott Aldrich of Aldrich's Beef and Ice Cream Parlor in New York to create gravy-flavoured ice cream. Aldrich went on to sell a range of strange flavours, including chocolate spaghetti and pork and beans.

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