July is National Ice Cream Month! As summer hits its peak, there’s no better time to enjoy a scoop (or a pint) of your favorite frozen treat. The creamy staple has come a long way from the big three flavors (Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry) that dominated the industry. From exotic flavors like black sesame to alcohol-infused ice cream, here are the major trends we’re seeing served up in cones this year:
Alcoholic ice cream is everywhere this year. Tipsy Scoop Barlour in NYC “blends the magic of an artisanal hand-crafted ice cream with the mastery of a perfectly mixed cocktail”. Their flavors range from classics like Vanilla Bean Bourbon to the decadent Red Velvet Martini. While they do ship all over the country, you won’t be able to find them in your local grocery store if you live west of the Mississippi. However, Haagen Dazs recently released their full line of boozy ice creams in the United States. After a successful launch in Canada, the brand decided to create new flavors when they came stateside. Consumers can enjoy flavors like Irish Cream Brownie, Rum Tres Leches, Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle, Stout Pretzel Crunch, Bourbon Praline Pecan, and Amaretto Black Cherry (the only non-dairy option). Now, it’s worth noting that these pints contain less than .05% alcohol, so eating the pint alone won’t get you buzzed. They do, however, make great additions to “adult” milkshakes, so blend away!
While this ice cream hasn’t hit shelves yet, it’s already causing a stir—Ben & Jerry’s recently announced their plans to create a CBD infused ice cream. As awesome as this would be, any product with plans to hit the market can’t move forward without adhering to the FDA’s guidelines. No official flavor profiles have been announced either, only that they would love to use CBD in future ice creams. Regardless of what flavors they choose, get ready to see all kinds of “Half-Baked” puns surrounding the announcement (even though CBD isn’t the part of cannabis that makes you feel some type of way, there’s still some cultural confusion there).
A Trip to Flavortown
It’s not just what’s in the ice cream that’s taking things up a notch. We’re seeing more and more exotic and sophisticated flavor profiles in our ice creams, too. A single trip to a Whole Foods in Boulder revealed flavors like cardamom, milk tea, black sesame, matcha, blue-violet, earl grey, churro, and more. We did a taste test with some of our coworkers to get their thoughts on some of the more “out-there” flavors, and collected some interesting feedback:
- Humphry Slocombe Black Sesame: “At first all I got was a seaweed taste…but now I’m getting more of like, a nutty taste”, “it has more of a savory kick to it”
- Three Twins Dad’s Cardamom: “I think I would like this with apple pie or something, but not necessarily on its own”, “I love this one, I get it all the time”
- Jeni’s Supermoon (blue-violet): “I was worried this one was going to taste like soap, as most blue-violet things do…but I can’t place that flavor…it kinda tastes like Dippin Dots”
- Jeni’s Churro: “ tastes like a Red Hot…but with some texture”, “it’s very gritty”
New Milk in Town
Even with Veganism growing in popularity, it can still be difficult to find vegan ice creams that match the creaminess of their full dairy counterparts. Oat Milk Ice Cream is hoping to close that gap. Oat milk has gained popularity over the past year specifically for its close texture to regular milk, especially when used in lattes and other coffee-based beverages. Now, So Delicious (a pioneer in the plant-based milk/ice cream space) has released their line of oat milk ice creams. Since the trend is so new, they are currently only offering this base with three flavors—Oatmeal Cookie, Peanut Butter and Raspberry, and Caramel Apple Crumble. As a fan of oat milk myself, I’m interested to see how this texture stacks up against the real thing. Almond milk ice creams aren’t the right texture, coconut milk has too much Coconut flavor (for my taste), so hopefully, oat milk can be juuuuuust right!
Overall, ice cream seems to be moving away from the big tubs of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry we all enjoyed as kids. Flavors are becoming more inventive, companies aren’t afraid to experiment, and consumers are more willing to try new things (possibly because of the popularity of the pint-size). So pull up a lawn chair, pick up a pint of something new at your local grocery store, and celebrate the dog days of summer with a scoop.
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