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August 17, 2010

Top 10 Even More Unusual Ice Cream Flavors


Earlier this summer, I posted a list of Top Ten unusual ice cream flavors. I thought I'd pretty much covered it all, from sweet cucumber ice cream at Dominion to savory tomato-fennel "dipping dots" at Volt.

But in the course of writing a story on the subject, I came across several more surprising flavors.

The ice cream story will appear in this next week's Taste section. (At least that was the plan when I went on vacation late last week. If something's changed, don't blame me. I just work here. [Note from SKK: Nope, it's running next week, which was always the plan!])

So without further ado, here is this week's list:

Top Ten Even More Unusual Ice Cream Flavors

1. Ranch dressing ice cream (Jack's Bistro)

Chef-owner Ted Stelzenmuller uses a scoop of this savory ice cream to top his pork belly BLT, which is a hunk of pork, cooked sous vide, and then crisped on the grill, and served on a bed of marinated tomatoes and arugula. It’s not as strange as it sounds, said manager Christie Smertycha. “As it melts down, it becomes a dressing, but it’s served as a dollop of ice cream – just sort of fun for summer,” she said.

2. Buttered popcorn ice cream (Jack's Bistro)

This ice cream adds a savory note to a dessert that Smertycha describes as “deconstructed kettle corn." It’s served in two dishes, one with cinnamon bread pudding topped with butterscotch sauce, the other with buttered popcorn ice cream with toffee pieces.

The dessert has “a cult following,” she said. “Even people that just try it because they think it sounds strange and they’re laughing take it very seriously after they’ve tried it.”

3. Pink peppercorn-lavender ice cream (Jack's Bistro)

(Thanks, Ice Cream Aficionado, the Dining@Large reader who put me onto this one.)  Smertycha described this dessert as "one of the most polarizing things on the menu. ... It’s strange. It’s floral. It’s spicy. It’s savory. Some people are like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just don’t know why I can’t stop eating it.’ Other people are, ‘It’s too weird for me. I’m glad I tried it, but no thanks.’”

4. Extra virgin olive oil sorbet (Cinghiale

Pastry chef Cara Flynn is about to start pairing this unusual gelato with zucchini cake and an heirloom tomato marmellata. Executive chef Julian Marucci told me it has "a really beautiful, silky texture and should go really excellent with the flavors of the zucchini and the acidity of the tomato marmellata.”

5. Tomato-basil sorbet (Cinghiale)

This savory sorbet gets added to a chilled tomato soup.

6. Basil ice cream (Woodberry Kitchen)

(Thanks to Dining@Large reader Mitch for this tip.) 

7. Heirloom Tomato "Dipping Dots" (Volt concession stand at Harry Grove Baseball Stadium)

While playing celebrity ballpark concessionaire, Volt chef Bryan Voltaggio served these savory ice cream pebbles as part of a rock shrimp ceviche. After dining at Volt's Table 21, I wrote that I didn't care for Voltaggio's tomato-fennel "dipping dots" when they were paired with a warm chicken Parmesan. But in the cold ceviche, these dots were spectacular.

8. Fresh Corn Ice Cream (Chez Vozzella)

I made this recently with farmers' market corn and a recipe by John Ash's "From the Earth to the Table." I was skeptical, so I only made half of a batch. But it was a hit. A 7-year-old neighbor declared, after her first lick, that it tasted like cake. I had to agree. (Credit the lemon zest.) We had a little left over and found, on Day 2, that the corn ice cream stayed softer than homemade ice cream usually does. Maybe there's something in corn that does what guar gum, Xanthan gum or other weird-sounding ingredients do to keep the commercial stuff scoopable.

9. Trout Ice Cream ("Iron Chef")

Hiroyuki Sakai famously created this dish on "Iron Chef." I"m not vouching for the dish, which Slate described as "raw trout ice cream, garnished with blueberries, bananas, and a crispy twist of fried trout skin." But it had its fans. "This freaky dish won raves from the drably polite tasting panel, made up of Bon Appetit editor Victoria von Biel, high-profile chef Kerry Simon, and former Daily Show comic Brian Unger," according to the Slate account.

10. Haggis ice cream (Morelli's)

I'm skeptical of this one, too, but I'm sure it deserves to a mention on any list of out-there ice creams. You'd have to travel all the way to the Harrod's in London to get a lick of it, a relief to those of us with no plans to visit the other side of the pond.

Here's what Food & Wine had to say about it: "Haggis—the Scottish dish made of sheep innards and traditionally sealed up sausage-style in the stomach—challenges many palates even in its traditional form. But Morelli's, a shop in Harrods's famed food hall, pushes that sheep-tissue envelope further by rendering it into ice cream."

Pictured: Popcorn and Pudding, cinnamon bread pudding with butterscotch and buttered popcorn ice cream with toffee pieces at Jack's Bistro. Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:24 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


B&O American Brasserie serves sweet corn ice cream with a cherry and corn upside down cake, and caramel balsamic ice cream with a butterscotch tart.

Don't forget Screwballs' (in Locust Point) lavender ice cream and other unique flavors!

Sotto Sopra had Extra Virgin Olive Oil ice cream on the menu when we had dinner there about five weeks ago. I didn't try it, but a person sitting next to us loved it.

And although it isn't from a local restaurant, one of the greatest "fails" every on Iron Chef was Smoked Trout Ice Cream, which is still brought up with humor and scorn on occassion.

What about all of Dominion Ice Cream's veggie flavors?

And although it isn't from a local restaurant, one of the greatest "fails" every on Iron Chef was Smoked Trout Ice Cream, which is still brought up with humor and scorn on occassion.

American or Japanese version?

I love when people comment without reading the whole article...

El G: I believe it was the Japanese version. I seem to remember the Chinese chef made it.

I made a fresh peach and basil sorbet with essence of scotch bonnet peppers last week, delicious.

I made a fresh peach and basil sorbet with essence of scotch bonnet peppers last week, delicious.

Baltofoodie, I covered Dominion's veggie flavors in the original Top Ten unusual ice cream flavors list.

That sorbet sounds great, TC. Please share the recipe if you're willing.

No, do us one better on the sorbet. Make a big batch and let us taste it.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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