Ice cream is a frozen dessert made from dairy products, such as cream (or substituted ingredients), combined with flavorings and sweeteners, such as sugar.
In the fifth century BC, ancient Greeks sold snow cones mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. Persians, having mastered the storage of ice, ate ice cream well into summer. Roman emperor Nero (37â€"68) had ice brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings. Today's ice treats likely originated with these early ice delicacies.
But at some point, the world of ice cream took a turn for the worse and gave us the following abominations:
The Japanese have long taken pride in their ability to adopt, adapt and improve on customs, practices and styles from other countries. Having succeeded globally with cars, electronics and even fashion, it was only natural that the Japanese turned their hand to trying to surpass the West with one of its favorite culinary delights - ice cream. Here are some of their amazing inventions:
1. Fish Ice Cream. Something must smell fishy about ice cream flavored with saury - a saltwater fish popular in Japan. But there's no worries about that with this offering from Kimura Shoten as the fishy fumes have been drowned out by liberal doses of brandy.
2. Octopus Ice Cream. Want to tantalize your taste buds with a tentacle? If so, Octopus Ice Cream is the solution. The Japanese have been able to come up with an amazing variety of uses for octopus, ranging from delicacy to porno movie prop. Little wonder then that octopus has found its way into ice cream.
3. Squid Ice Cream. Not wanting to give Octopus Ice Cream a leg-up, Kimura Shoten used the extra legs available to step forward with squid flavored ice cream.
4. Ox Tongue Ice Cream. What better way to tickle your taste buds than with another tongue? Though Ox Tongue Ice Cream may not be the first delicacy to come to mind, its taste is nothing to have a beef with.
5. Sweet Potato Ice Cream. Sweet potatoes have a reputation in Japan for causing flatulence. Mention Sweet Potato Ice Cream though, and it's more likely to induce nausea.
6. Fried Eggplant Ice Cream. Eggplant is a mainstay of the Japanese diet, appearing regularly on such dishes as pizza and in sandwiches. Becoming an ice cream flavor was merely a matter of time.
7. Crab Ice Cream. Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefecture, is renowned for its rich array of seafood, prime amongst the delicacies being crab. Though not everybody's favorite ice cream flavor, this is a dish worth sinking your claws into
8. Corn Ice Cream. Corn has managed to wrangle its way into many dishes in Japan, notably pizza and ramen noodles. Having been so successful in other culinary fields, nothing was going to stop the development of corn ice cream.
9. Koshihikari Rice Ice Cream. A strong local preference for Japan's favorite rice, koshihikari, has long prevented foreign farmers from gaining a foothold in the lucrative Japanese rice market. Koshihikari is also used to make some of Japan's finest sake. But koshihikari is one rice strain that is something of a strain to stomach when used in ice cream.
10. Wasabi Ice Cream. Sushi gets its punch from the horseradish paste known in Japanese as wasabi. While its tingling taste makes a delightful addition to raw fish, wasabi's tangy flavor also makes for a surprisingly edible ice cream.
11. Shrimp Ice Cream. Most people would be filing a report with their local health authorities if they dug up the corpse of a shrimp from their ice cream, but with this product from Roman Holiday, it's standard practice. The image Shrimp Ice Cream probably conjures up amongst most people probably comes closest to the actual taste.
12. Eel Ice Cream. Eel is a summer delicacy in Japan, which probably explains why Futaba decided to use it to flavor an ice cream. Surprisingly, the smooth taste is quite palatable, even if the thought of what's being eaten is not quite as palatable.
13. Nagoya Noodle Ice Cream. Some would think you'd be off your noodle to imbibe an ice cream flavor such as this. Fortunately, Chakkiri Musume Honten, the inventors of this ice cream, were able to develop noodles that didn't turn hard when they were served under 30 degrees Celsius.
14. Chicken Wing Ice Cream. Nagoya is famous for its poultry, so it should come as no surprise that the taste of this ice cream is best described as foul. It actually tastes like a fried chicken wing, which is fine if that's what you're eating, but not if you're tucking into some ice cream.
15. Miso Ice Cream. Miso bean paste, together with soy sauce, is said to be the flavor of Japan. Miso is an essential element of many Japanese foods and is indeed delicious when served with the correct dish. But when it comes to ice cream, it's best to give miso a miss.
16. Cactus Ice Cream. A tasty treat that will prick the hearts of ice cream lovers everywhere. It is smooth and refreshing with a taste that must be like drawing water from a cactus after being parched in a desert for days.
17. Raw Horseflesh Ice Cream. The mere thought of putting raw horseflesh into ice cream may be enough to produce plenty of neigh … er, naysayers. And, rightfully so. You can get it straight from the horse's mouth, this would have to vie for the vilest ice cream ever created. The chunks of meat inside it offer ample proof of why horseflesh is usually used in dog food.
18. Goat Ice Cream. Goats are known for eating absolutely anything; those brave enough to try this Japanese ice cream may do well to adopt a similar attitude. Made with, of course, goat's milk, but also containing plenty of the rest of the animal.
19. Whale Ice Cream. Whale has long been a delicacy among the Japanese. Certainly not a politically correct choice, but one that will definitely get people blubbering. Despite the rich, creamy texture, the ingredients are probably from a minke and not a sperm. Perhaps we should all be glad for that.
20. Shark Fin Noodle Ice Cream. Just when you thought it was safe to eat ice cream again, here's something you can really sink your jaws into. The tangy taste of Shark Fin Noodle Ice Cream is definitely one for the fin-nicky fan. A great white ice cream!
21. Oyster Ice Cream. Giving an entirely new meaning to Pearl of the Orient, Oyster Ice Cream can be eaten at any time, even if there's an "R" in the month. Oysters have a reputation for providing prowess, but whoever thought of this ice cream should have made like its ingredients and stayed in the shell.
22. Abalone Ice Cream. About the only thing fishier than the taste of Abalone Ice Cream is the business sense of whoever decided to put it on the market. Abalone is certainly a delicious addition to many aspects of Japanese cuisine, but when it comes to ice cream, perhaps abalone would have been better left at the bottom of the ocean.
23. Seaweed Ice Cream. If marine animals aren't your cup of ice cream, perhaps a healthy alternative of seaweed is preferable? Seaweed is packed with minerals, some of which are medicinal, which probably goes a long way in explaining the taste.
24. Deep Sea Water Ice Cream. Brine may well rhyme with fine and shine, but this flavor offering the salt of the sea does neither. Imagine drinking some milk at the beach precisely the moment you cop a mouthful of water after a huge wave dumps on you and you've got something like this extraordinary taste.
25. Spinach Ice Cream. No longer will frustrated parents have to urge their children to eat their greens if they want to have dessert. Now, Spinach Ice Cream will let kids kill two birds with one stone by eating their veggies and ice cream at the same time.
26. Garlic Ice Cream. At last! An ice cream that lets everybody around you know you've eaten it! Garlic-flavored Dracula Ice Cream is a summer delight you can really sink your teeth into. Designed to ward off vampires, this uncommon choice of flavoring may ward off a few ice cream lovers, too. Garlic may well be a wonderful condiment for an assortment of foods, but, as for a substance vampires really hate, this is bloody awful. Incidentally, Garlic Ice Cream was made in the tiny Aomori Prefecture village of Shingo, which claims to be the place where Jesus Christ's grave is located.
27. Sesame, Soybean and Dried Kelp Ice Cream. This is a real winner, and about as healthy as you can get with ice cream, by combining three staples of the traditional Japanese diet that have made people into the longest-living on earth.
28. Lettuce and Potato Ice Cream. Lettuce Ice Cream? With Potato? Rarely the best of partners even in dishes such as salads where they at least complement one another, Lettuce and Potato Ice Cream is a leafy spud dud.
29. Wheat Ice Cream. Perhaps it would have been a better idea not to separate the chaff. Like buckwheat noodles and wheat tea, this ice cream is a tasty treat even if it doesn't sound as though it'll wheat, oops, make that whet, the appetite.
30. Curdled Bean Ice Cream. One of Japan's most repulsive foods - fermented beans that form a paste that looks like slime from a cheap Hollywood horror flick, with an odor akin to dirty socks - this was a natural choice for a unique ice cream flavor. Being such an appealing morsel, natto is bound to be healthy, but using it in artery clogging ice cream relieves it of even that virtue.
31. Silk Ice Cream. An ice cream that tastes as smooth as silk. And so it should, because that's what it's made of. Silk was Japan's biggest pre-war export, and somehow, parachutes and kimonos still seem like a better use for the textile.
32. Chicken Ice Cream. It's an ice cream like this that almost makes you wish the horrible thought about the avian flu that swept through Japan earlier this year had been a bit more effective. The taste of Chicken Ice Cream goes a long way toward explaining why the birds are described as foul. Though undoubtedly a tasty meat, you'll need to be anything but chicken to get through this ice cream.
34. Potato Liquor Ice Cream. Shochu was once exclusively a brew popular among Japan's working classes, but now the potato-based liquor with a similar taste and potency to vodka is enjoyed by those from all segments of society. Whether shochu can be enjoyed as an ice cream flavor is a matter of personal preference, but the sharp tang the liquor gives this icy treat is certainly a wonderful way to beat the summer heat. And what better way to put some luster into an otherwise vanilla ice cream than to add some moonshine?
37. Cherry Blossom Ice Cream. Given the love the Japanese have for their national emblem, this ice cream could never be anything but a dessert delight. The scrumptious sweet is yummy for the tummy, brightening up the taste buds the same way its ingredients bring about a delightful transformation across the entire country every spring. The treat may well show that Japan's ice cream makers are blossoming, but don't forget you're chomping away on flowers.
38. Soy Sauce Ice Cream. Soy sauce is the undisputed flavor of Japan. But why it had to be put into an ice cream is anyone's guess. Diving into Soy Sauce Ice Cream leaves you with the feeling that when it comes to soy based edibles, perhaps soylent green may have been a tastier choice. Each bite is a reminder of foods that should never be mixed.
39. Pit Viper Ice Cream. The pit viper is one of the most dangerous poisonous snakes inhabiting the Japanese archipelago. And a bite into this reptilian flavored ice cream can certainly seem deadly. Pit viper is regarded as an aphrodisiac in Japan, but the terrible taste makes it hard to fall in love with this ice cream.
40. Indian Curry Ice Cream. Definitely not a taste to give others if youâ€™re trying to curry favor. Curry flavored ice cream goes a long way toward putting the bomb into Bombay. The adventurous ones who try this ice cream will be rewarded with the taste of curry lingering in their mouths for hours.
43. Charcoal Ice Cream. The "coalden" child of Japanese ice creams. A must-eat for the coal miners. Not cool, but undoubtedly "coaled." An ice cream that could char reputations. But the taste? Char-ming.
44. Miso Ramen Ice Cream. An ice cream that really gets on the noodle of some, but the ramen and miso are both Japanese culinary favorites. If only the delicacies had been left in the noodle bowl instead of blended with ice cream.
45. Chili Pepper Ice Cream. Before partaking of this fiery ice cream, perhaps its best to remember that itâ€™s made of the same stuff used in the capsicum spray used on those in an uncontrollable rage. Probably one of the only ice creams in existence that makes your mouth burn when you taste it.
46. Cheese Risotto Ice Cream. Italians are famous for raising their arms and gesturing in exasperation at the slightest provocation. Imagine how theyâ€™d be after learning that the Japanese have added one of Italyâ€™s national dishes, and a savory one at that, to sweet ice cream.
48. Grated Yam Ice Cream. When grated, yam creates a gooey paste somewhat akin to dough made out of flour and water. Which kind of raises the question of how it ever ended up as an ice-cream flavor in the first place.
49. Cypress Tree Ice Cream. Cypress is a favorite when making the barrel-like baths so adored in Japan. Though it contains fragments of cypress wood for flavoring, some may find the taste of this ice cream influenced more by the bathwater than the material used to make its container. Frankly, this tastes like ice cream on a wooden stick without the ice cream.
51. Squid Gut Ice Cream. Squid innards are often used as a condiment in Japanese cuisine, which I suppose makes it inevitable that it would find its way into ice cream. We should be fortunate Squid Gut Ice Cream is not the full squid.
54. Hot Spring Water Ice Cream. Soaking in the steaming waters of a hot spring is almost the Japanese national pastime. Located in volcanic areas, Japanâ€™s hot springs are subjected to wafts of the pungent odor of sulfur, which, of course, closely resembles the fragrance of broken wind. If you know the smell, you know what the ice cream tastes like.
55. Dracula Cool Garlic Mint Ice Cream. Called â€œDraculaâ€? because of its supposed effectiveness against vampires due to the garlic it contains, the unfortunate addition of mint flavor almost seems enough to drain anybodyâ€™s blood. A taste that seems to leave the mouth in an undead state. Definitely not to be eaten during daylight (and nighttime is best avoided, too).
56. Genmai Ice Cream (unpolished rice). It shouldnâ€™t be surprising that this ice cream has a taste thatâ€™s a little, well, unpolished. But genmai is certainly healthy and this treat actually gives credence to the idea that rice is nice.
57. Aojiru Ice Cream. Aojiru, literally a broth of green-leafed vegetables, became a household word across Japan because of a TV advertisement for aojiru featuring an old man guzzling down a glass full of it, and promptly proclaiming it to taste â€œawful.â€? Enough said about the ice cream flavor.
59. Environmentally Friendly Miso Ice Cream. Another miso-based flavor, this soybean paste ice cream has the added advantage of being environmentally friendly. Judging by the taste, it would have been much friendlier had it never existed.
60. Hojicha Bitter Green Tea Ice Cream. Putting the â€œbrewâ€? into bruising your taste buds is the hojicha bitter green tea ice cream. Hojicha is best known as a tea consumed to complement incredibly sweet Japanese confectionery, but typically busy Japanese have mixed it with ice cream to kill two birds with one stone. And with a taste like this, it wouldnâ€™t be surprising if they killed more than two birds as well.
61. Persimmon Ice Cream. In Japan, persimmons are most often eaten after having been hung out to dry for the autumn months. And that description should be enough to give you a hint of what the flavor of this ice cream is like.
62. Pickled Plum and Shiso Ice Cream. Shiso is a herb frequently found flavoring a variety of Japanese foods, especially sushi. Its mint-like fragrance is a present for the palate, but when added to ice cream it makes every bite seem as though itâ€™s a slab of raw fish.
63. Collagen Lemon Ice Cream. Lemon flavoring may sour some to this treat, but others may enjoy chomping away on the crunchy, gristly chunks of collagen inside that make eating this ice cream almost like chewing on a sweet bone.
65. Deep Water Gelatto. An ice cream containing water taken from deep beneath the earthâ€™s crust, with a taste that suggests it may have been better off remaining there. Actually, this is one of the more palatable members of this collection.
66. Herbal Remedy Ice Cream. Yakuzen is the name given to the various herbs and plants used in traditional Oriental medicine, as well as to this ice cream. Mind you, the practice employs such exotics as rhinoceros toenail clippings and tiger tails, neither of which have made their way into an ice cream, which would probably have been a better fate for this flora, too.
69. Finland Ice Cream. An ice cream to sink your teeth into, especially as it contains xylitol, a substance said to be beneficial for oral hygiene. Recommended by dentists, probably because, like the makers of this ice cream, theyâ€™re used to putting awful tastes in peopleâ€™s mouths.
70. Natural Viagra Ice Cream. Just what the ice cream shops have been missing - Viagra flavored ice cream. I just didn't know Viagra had a flavor, nor do I want to know what it's like.
But Japan isn't the only place to host weird and exciting ice cream flavors…
For 15 years, the Guinness Book of World Records has awarded an an ice cream shop in Merida, Venezuela as having the most flavors; currently 892, but always increasing. Here is a sample of some tasty flavors from that shop:
73. Onion Ice Cream. Tastes just like garden fresh green onions (or scallions), only colder.
75. Rose Ice Cream. Just like inhaling a bouquet of roses, except you're eating them!
78. Cuttlefish Ice Cream. 14-year old girl Yvonne Yen says, "I like the ice cream here, especially the cuttlefish flavor, because of the rich texture and lighter sweet taste. The color (black) is really cool."
84. Cold Sweat Ice Cream. Along with milk, sugar and the other usual ingredients, this ice cream is made with three kinds of peppers and two kinds of hot sauce. It's so spicy that just touching it makes your fingers feel hot. It's not a top seller. One of the ice cream shop's regular customers said it tasted like, "fire - with a side of fire."
85. Chicken Fried Steak Ice Cream. Ever wondered what happens if you mesh fried steak and ice cream together? DallasFood.org introduces a new way to screw up your diet quickly and easily. Itâ€™s basically frying a piece of steak with egg, butter, sugar, and milk, and topping it off with an ice cream scoop.
86. Nogger Black Ice Cream. The world's first racist ice cream! This is a liquorice flavored version of the classic nougat-flavored "Nogger."
A block from Rehoboth Beach's grainy sands and churning waves in Delaware, where beachgoers are baking on a Tuesday afternoon in a 95-degree swelter, Udder Delight Ice Cream House is busy scooping ice cream flavors so outlandish it makes some of its chill-seekers scream, all right.
87. Chunky Bacon Ice Cream. "Bacon and butterfat, what could be better? The stuff should come with CPR instructions," jokes H. Page Skelton, 37, watching the young women sample the next sample — spicy-hot ice cream with a vinegar aftertaste.
88. Barbecue Flavor Ice Cream. "Uh, it tastes a little too much like barbecue," says bikini-topped Franny Linus.
89. Cackalacky Spice Sauce Ice Cream. Bryan Wetstone, 15, from Columbia, tries the Cackalacky ice cream and doesn't appear to enjoy it. Hearn says to Skelton, "I think he's going to puke."
91. Mushroom-Pecan Ice Cream. "The mushroom sucked, but the mushroom-pecan rocked! But I would guess that mushroom-pumpkin was the weirdest one ever."
And here are some flavors that Radar Magazine found across America:
92. Chocolate Garlic Ice Cream. Rachel, age 8, "It tastes like poop. How could you live with yourself if you made that ice cream?"
93. Haddock Ice Cream. I like fish sticks, but mixed with the ice cream theyâ€™re soggy, like wet bread. Plus, Iâ€™m not sure fish and ice cream is a good combination.
94. Bay Leaf Ice Cream. Tastes like eucalyptus. Itâ€™s fluffy, like whipped cream.
95. Lox Ice Cream. Not good. Lox has a greasy taste that doesnâ€™t go with ice cream.
96. Durian Ice Cream. A kind word would be wretched. You get this from Spice Market?
97. Lobster Ice Cream. Rachel, age 8, "I like lobster, but I donâ€™t like it in ice cream."
And then at Ohio State University, people have developed odd and unmarketable flavors such as:
And there you have it. 101 frightening ice cream flavors!