You don’t have to settle for vanilla any longer.
A sweet, frosty ice cream cone is a quintessential dessert, but if you’re an adventurous foodie, you might be tired of the same old flavor choices. As delicious as a classic vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry cone can be, there are a wide variety of flavors out there to try.
No matter where you go in the world, you can probably find an ice cream shop with some unique options on their menu. Some places are known for their oddball flavors, while others offer lots of classic ones as well as the occasional strange concoction.
Some places play around with combinations like goat cheese and beets to bring some umami flavors to your sweet dessert, while others go for even more unexpected flavors like licorice, foie gras, haggis, cheddar cheese, and corn. Despite being rather bizarre, these flavors aren’t just there for kitsch. Most of these unusual menu options have gathered some cult followings — and of course, some parlors opt for interesting ways to serve up the delicious treat.
While there are countless ice cream parlors around the world, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular and strange flavors at some of the world’s most well-known establishments.
In order to focus on the truly unique flavors being touted by certain establishments, we decided to leave off some popular places that boast flavors like charcoal, bacon, or matcha. Similarly, unique or kitschy-looking ice cream, like fish-shaped waffle cones, rolled “taco” ice cream, or German “spaghetti eis” have been left off since they’ve become quite popular and accessible after achieving viral fame.
Beef tongue, Ice Cream Paradise in Tokyo, Japan
This popular ice cream destination above Gyoza Stadium sells over 300 flavors of ice cream, including interesting ones like curry, basil, garlic, and yes, beef tongue. Gyoza Stadium is a foodie paradise, so it’s only natural that its ice cream parlor has tons of interesting flavors that turn heads. You can find lots of unique flavors all over Japan, but this place is a one-stop shop for adventurous dessert lovers.
Gin and tonic, Vioko in Barcelona, Spain
A refreshing, lime-tinged gin and tonic might be exactly what you need during a visit to this coastal city. Vioko turned one of the city’s most popular drinks into an even more popular dessert. The shop is also well known for other confections, including macarons and chocolate.
Foie gras, Philippe Faur in Allans, France
Famous gourmet ice creamery Philipe Faur is a wonderful place to get delicious, freshly made ice cream in traditional flavors like chocolate, caramel, and banana. It’s also a great place for interesting innovations like goat cheese, truffle, and of course, foie gras. According to USA Today, the bizarre dessert took four months to nail down.
Brown bread, Murphys Ice Cream in Dingle, Ireland
Traditional brown bread is an Irish staple, but it may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to dessert. This shop pays homage to its Irish roots with this caramelized brown-bread flavor.
The shop likes to experiment with lots of flavors. According to the parlor’s website, the staff even made a green pea and mint flavor for a customer once.
Salty licorice, Glasshus in Stockholm, Sweden
At this popular shop in Stockholm, you can get your hands on charcoal-infused ice cream with a little something extra. The pitch-black treat has a strong black licorice flavor, which can be pretty polarizing. However, tourists and locals alike swear by this shop.
Glasshus also make lots of delicious, well-loved flavors and other intriguing ones like a champagne sorbet.
Tequila, Las Ventanas al Paraíso in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
This ice cream shop is found in a Rosewood Resort and celebrates traditional Mexican tequila with a not-so-traditional dessert. Booze-flavored ice creams have become popular with ice-cream loving adults around the world, and this tequila concoction is no different. In addition to tequila, the shop makes red wine flavored ice cream and other beloved favorites.
Cotton candy Pop Rocks, Max and Mina’s Ice Cream in Flushing, New York
Max and Mina’s is one of the best places to stop for an ice cream cone in Queens. The unique shop has made hundreds of flavors over the years, including some strange concoctions like lox, pizza, rose, and cotton candy Pop Rocks. While cotton candy isn’t technically a strange flavor on its own, the explosive Pop Rocks are the extra treat you didn’t know your dessert was missing. The shop also offers custom flavors.
Lobster, Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium in Bar Harbor, Maine
Is there a better place to find good lobster than in Bar Harbor, Maine? But no, we’re not talking about lobster rolls. This well-loved candy store is known for its chocolate and it’s daily-made ice cream, which includes the shop’s iconic lobster flavor. The dessert is made using butter-flavored ice cream with lobster chunks folded in. It’s definitely not a flavor for everyone, but people still go to Ben & Bill’s every year to try a sample.
Goat cheese and beets, Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver, Colorado
This unique Colorado ice cream shop specializes in offbeat flavors. You can find a wide range of flavors, including White Russian, pandan coconut, and sometimes, goat cheese and beets. According to Zagat, the flavor was inspired by co-owner Samantha Kopicko's favorite beet, goat cheese, and spinach salad. Why not turn your favorite lunch into your favorite dessert?
Since this shop makes all its flavors in small batches, their menu changes daily and usually has a few vegan and dairy-free flavors on hand, like a variety of sorbets or vegan almond butter ice cream.
Pear and blue cheese, Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon
Staying true to its Portland heritage, Salt & Straw is famous for creating interesting and experimental flavors. Since it specializes in unique combinations, there are quite a few strange options on their menu that vary based on what parlor you visit.
Some popular, yet bizarre flavor combinations include pear and blue cheese, India pale ale, olive oil, and cheese and peppercorn.
Whiskey and prune, Simmos Ice Creamery in Dunsborough, Australia
Whiskey-flavored ice cream may not sound too odd, especially for adventurous ice cream lovers, as plenty of places have experimented with alcoholic flavors before. But prunes? This mascarpone-based ice cream flavor uses whiskey-soaked prunes, which give the treat a sort of rum-raisin flavor.