Ice cream: Are you sweet on savoury?

In Author's Choice

What is better than ambling along JBR walk in the heat of the afternoon, buying a cone of soft, chilled ice cream, with a chocolate flake peeking out? Not much!

Ice cream is something people crave, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Over the years, so many different and unusual flavour combinations have come available – salted caramel, cherry cheesecake, cognac infusions and cantaloupe to name a few. But, what about the people who maybe don’t have a sugar craving or are looking for something a little special? Enter the savoury ice cream. Fast gaining popularity in America and now spreading across the pond to us here in Dubai, here is our advice for what to try and look out for.

Is this just a marketing ploy?

When new food trends are announced there is a period of adjustment where the public decides if it is a fad or here to stay. Just cast your mind back to the bizarre ideas we were introduced to in 2016, black volcanic infused water, avocado chocolate deserts and deconstructed everything. While initially exciting and extraordinary they quickly faded into the background as people decided they were a bit odd.

So what about savoury ice cream? Instead of the traditional base of cream, eggs and sugar, cheese or even olive oil can be used. People may expect an olive oil ice cream to have a greasy taste, however, in reality it produces a creamier and richer texture with nutty undertones. Cheese gives a deliciously salty and, well…cheesy flavour to your ice cream. These unfamiliar bases are opening the door to a whole host of additional ingredient combinations, perfect for hot countries and maybe a more refined desert or even surprising appetizer.

Inimitable flavour combinations

Many ice cream parlours are achieving fame for their cool savoury choices. A pop up store in London opened recently to rave reviews, selling non-sweet options. Flavours included crackers with blue cheese as well as an ale option and a twiglet variety. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The American restaurant Firefly in Washington has produced something for the carnivores. A salty creamy beef brisket ice cream using real brisket dripping. This unique tasting dish is a lovely between meal snack. For something completely different, try the bright green wasabi and Kingfish combination hailing from Tokyo Tina in Australia. The renowned experimental chef Heston Blumenthal has, of course, jumped on the savoury ice cream band wagon. He has produced a mustard ice cream with hints of spice making for a rich earthy taste. At his Fat Duck Restaurant, he also serves a traditional bacon and eggs dish…in ice cream form! Made fresh at the table with dry ice and served with a little marmalade for sweetness. This is not only tasty but also has a sense of the theatrical. But, of course you expect nothing less from Heston.

What about the cone!

With ingredients ranging from bacon, carrots, basil and lobster (maybe one for the brave) the sky is the limit. So what about the humble cone? Of course we all like a little crunch with our dessert, and as this trend continues to develop there have been some rather unconventional waffle ideas. Check out the volcanic black cones from +39 Pizzeria in Melbourne – at a minimum they will look impressive on your Instagram feed. If salt is your go to fix then the pretzel cone is the perfect accompaniment to your cheesy ice cream while also getting high marks for durability and less drips. Or, for something a little simpler try out the toast cone. Delicious, crunchy but maybe a little soggy…so devour quickly.

On the whole, it looks like the savoury ice creams are here to stay. Before it gets completely out of hand go and try a few wacky flavours. Or have a go making a few combinations in your own kitchen. But maybe try it out yourself first before offering it to your friends!

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