Let’s take a little trip, shall we? We love to travel, and especially love to see how other countries approach our favorite thing in the world: ice cream! Of course, there are lots of wild flavors out there to suit regional tastes: foie gras ice cream in France, octopus ice cream in Japan, ube yam ice cream in Hawaii. And beyond the dizzying array of flavors out there, there are some crazy ways to make and serve ice cream the world over. No need for a plane ticket, here are 10 of the world’s coolest ice cream traditions:
Ever seen ice cream that’s as stretchy as mozzarella cheese and as chewy as taffy? You would if you took a trip to Turkey. Dondurma is ice cream made with salep, a wild orchid root that gives it a chewy, stretchy texture. And because salep is illegal to export, it’s only available in its home country.
2. I Tim Pad
Let’s zip on over to Thailand, where i tim pad is a popular street snack. Instead of being churned, this ice cream is flash-frozen to order on a frozen metal disc and then scraped off into delectable ice cream scrolls. It’s as pretty as it is tasty!
Over in Japan, a popular ice cream treat consists of mochi – a pounded rice paste – wrapped around ice cream. The result is a sweet ice cream finger food with a curiously non-melty exterior.
We’re not sure why this strange dish became popular in Germany, but it has been on menus around the country since the 1960’s. It’s an ice cream sundae made to look like a bowl of spaghetti, complete with sauce (usually a strawberry puree) and parmesan cheese (coconut flakes or grated almonds). Appetizing, or just plain odd?
5. Snow Cream
In rural pockets around the US, snow cream is a popular treat among kids home from school on snow days. Fill a bowl with fresh snow, then mix in sugar, milk, and vanilla. Voila – snow cream! A delightful way to turn a snow day into an ice cream party.
6. New Year’s Luck
In Switzerland, it’s thought to be good luck to drop ice cream on the ground on New Year’s Day. Any ice cream will work, as long as it’s on the ground. So, maybe keep an eye out for melted ice cream puddles next time you’re in Switzerland around the New Year, eh?
7. Ais Kacang
This Malaysian dessert literally translates to “ice beans”, and consists of shaved ice and beans, usually with various colorful fruity toppings. Sounds interesting, but we think we’ll stick to bean-less ice cream varieties for now.
Ice cream might not be your dessert of choice in the chill of Alaska, but if you were hankering for something sweet, the popular treat known as akutaq would be a must-try. In its most traditional form, it consists of whipped animal fat – usually from seals, moose, or caribou – mixed with berries and bits of meat.
9. Ice Cream Loti
This ice cream sandwich that hails from Singapore is a colorful treat for the eyes and the taste buds. It’s ice cream wrapped in sweet, colorful loti bread, making for a delightful hand-held snack.
Long before they took over Instagram and Twitter, freakshakes were a delicacy only available from one café in Canberra, Australia. What is a freakshake, you ask? Picture a milkshake, and then picture it hopped up on steroids and doing its best imitation of a franken-shake.
So are you already booking your plane tickets? We sure are. Do you know of a wild ice cream tradition from around the world? Share it with us in the comments below!