by Eloise Porter
The days are longer and the sun is (sometimes) hotter, and we San Franciscans, normally found huddling
under umbrellas or hiding from the wind, finally get to enjoy the little bit of summer we
have. And what does that mean? Swimming pools, barbecues, parks, ice cream …
But this is San Francisco, after all, and we don’t do summer like most of the world.
The ice cream of today isn’t what you purchased from the local truck when you were six years old and taking a break from rollerblading in the park. Strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate are flavors of the past, turned on their heads by the geniuses behind shops like
Bi-Rite, Smitten, and Humphry Slocombe. Our favorite bars, restaurants, and food trucks are immersed in local, organic produce, and so too is your favorite childhood treat. You no longer need to head to the bar for your Fernet fix or to a gourmet restaurant for pasta sauces and salad dressings. Your cold, summer treat has got you covered.
From vegetables to booze, herbs to meats and cheeses, and everything in between, here are the most obscure, yet delicious, new ice cream flavors to slurp up this summer.
1. Foie Gras. Humphry Slocomb has no end of interesting flavors. Sure, we’ve maybe heard of bacon ice cream, but the guys at Humphry take it a step further, and more gourmet,with their Foie Gras ice cream (be sure to try it before the California Foie Gras ban, and, while you’re at it, check out their Boccalone Proscuitto).
2. Salt and Pepper. This flavor, also from Humphry Slocombe, is unmistakable. The sweetness of the ice cream is cut by the tang of salt and the bite of pepper. This flavor perfectly mixes sweet with savory, but it’s not for the faint of heart—it definitely tastes
exactly as it sounds.
3. Strawberry Black Olive. Without a name tag, you may not be able to tell what those specks of black are. All you’ll know is that the sweet and salty combination in your cone is absolutely delicious. Who, besides the guys at Humphrey Slocombe, would think of
this unique blend of strawberries and Kalamata olives?
4. Avocado. While this may sound more like a dip for tortilla chips than a dessert, Mitchell’s has utilized the creaminess of avocados to create a savory, yet still slightly sweet, frozen treat.
5. Sweet Corn. Sweet kernels of corn blend to make this flavor of Smitten ice cream a real showstopper. Pair it with their blackberry sauce, and you’ve got a complete summer
BBQ in your cone.
6. Pesto. You may be used to bright green pistachio ice cream, but DeLise dessert café has a new green dessert for you to try. Their pesto ice cream has whole pine nuts embedded in it and may make you reexamine your typical pasta sauce.
7. Ballpark. This uniquely San Francisco flavor at Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous combines Anchor beer with salty roasted peanuts and chocolate-covered pretzels. Even if you can't get a ticket to the Giant’s game, you can enjoy this Ballpark in any weather.
8. Secret Breakfast. The big “secret” in this Humphry Slocombe staple flavor is the kick of Jim Beam bourbon mixed with crunchy corn flakes. This flavor isn’t for the weak or the under 21 crowd … it packs a punch!
9. Sour Cream and Apple Sauce. Some of you may recognize this flavor as the ideal accompaniment to latkes. Tart sour cream pairs with sweet applesauce to create another unusual winner at Humphry Slocombe.
10. Balsamic Strawberry. Okay, this may not be the weirdest flavor but it certainly is
unique. In my opinion, the sweet and tangy taste of this ice cream is on a par with some
of the best desserts I’ve had. Don’t fear the line at Bi-Rite, this flavor is not to be missed!
There you have it—this summer’s most unique ice cream flavors. Be sure to treat yourself on those few hot summer days to an unusual cone at some of San Francisco’s best ice cream shops. But note, flavors rotate constantly, so if you don’t see the one you’re looking for, you may just have to go back again!
Eloise Porter is a writer living in SF. Check out her kitchen adventures at Pie and Prejudice.