aisukuri-mu! helado! ice cream!

Are the Japanese more gastronomically advanced than the rest of us? Here I am pondering olive oil ice cream and vegetable sorbets, while Japan already has all sorts of savoury ice creams for sale in the supermarket.

It seems like a lot of western chefs are looking for novel ways to present old flavours. But it’s usually the high-end restaurants who serve up ice cream flavours like horseradish (like at Bilson’s in Sydney). I love it when really innovative chefs can take inspiration from something as lowly as a corndog and invent a “dessert” like Plinio Sandalio’s ‘“corndog” corncakes with mustard ice cream and ketchup’.

But if you’re in Japan, you don’t need to blow your cash at a trendy restaurant to treat your tongue to something bizarre. You can go down to the supermarket and whole buy a tub of octopus, squid, eggplant, or cheese ice cream (I wish I could read the Japanese packaging).

Photo credit: maddercarmine on flickr

I’m not so much shocked that these flavours exist as I am curious about how people serve them. Do they use octopus ice cream to create elaborate gourmet dishes, or do they eat big bowls of it sitting on the couch watching DVDs?

I’m not sure how popular these ice cream flavours are, but squid ink soft serve ice cream seems to be pretty common in Japan (soft serve is huge there). Except a lot of people say it tastes like regular vanilla. The squid ink seems more like a colouring/gimmick than the actual flavouring.

Photo credit: avlxyz on flickr

But if you were to eat the proper squid ice cream, don’t you think soy sauce topping would be more suitable than chocolate sauce? There’s a little blog called Japanese Ice Cream that’s about… Well, you can imagine.

Wait! It turns out that Japan is not the only place where dinner is being made into ice cream.

There’s an ice cream shop in France has flavours like cactus, thyme, basil tomato, and rosemary. But those flavours sound vanilla compared to what they’re selling at a heladeria in Bilbao, Spain. The least popular flavour looks to be ‘foie gras de canard’ (duck foie gras). I can’t imagine why it would be less popular than ‘bacalao al pil pil’ (cod Basque style).

Flavours (clockwise from top left): cod, alcohol, red wine, smoked salmon, squid in its own ink, kalimotxo (red wine and coke), extra-virgin olive oil, duck foie gras. Photo credit: disgustipado on flickr

Sniffing around Spanish blogs I figured out that the café is called ‘Nossi-Bé’. In case you’re ever in Bilbao.

You know, I start off wanting to write really short little posts. But my research always leads me to new and crazy things I have to share. Even if only one person’s reading.

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3 Comments

Filed under ice cream, packaged foods

3 responses to “aisukuri-mu! helado! ice cream!

  1. Hey, you used my octopus icecream photo! 🙂 That was taken at Namco Namjatown Ice Cream Museum. They also have Ramen flavour icecream. Apparently, it tastes somewhat like death.
    I’m going to subscribe to your blog as I love wierd food myself.
    Have you ever tried Mexican candy? http://www.bad-candy.com/ I had some from the Jindivik chilli festival once. Oh the humanity.

    • yes, thanks for the photo! i was searching flickr and finding your ice cream photos was how i discovered those err, inventive flavours. did you try any of them? what kind of mexican candy did you try? i’d love to hear a first hand account.

  2. Helmut

    I never imagined that those flavours even existed. Some of them sound horrible but i wouldn’t mind trying the squid ink ice cream.

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