Monday, April 12, 2010

Table Talk: Move Over Vanilla, There Are New Flavor's In Town

With the sun finally deciding to come out of hibernation, I’m starting to look forward to my favorite warm-weather treat: Ice cream. If you’re like me and you're tired of vanilla and chocolate, read below to find new and unusual ice cream flavors that are popping up nationwide. Here you will find nearby shops located specifically on the East Coast, though the West Coast has their fair share of charisma, with prosciutto ice cream becoming increasingly popular.

Christina's Homemade Ice Creams, Cambridge MA
Although the majority of Christina’s nearly 100 flavors are a bit unique, the most unusual item you’ll find on their menu is the Adzuki Bean ice cream. A popular legume in Japan, adzuki bean isn't widely used over here in the states, but it seems to be a big hit in frozen form, even surpassing ginger and green tea in popularity among Massachusetts residents.

Other great flavors to try include Fresh Rose, Mascarpone, Fig, Lychee Nut and Honey Lavender

Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium, Bar Harbor ME
People in Maine love their lobster. So much so they even added it their ice cream. Real bits of lobster are mixed into creamy vanilla ice cream to provide a salty and sweet summer treat.

If you’re not much of a seafood fan, there are plenty of other flavors that will appeal to you, including several versions of chocolate, Macadamia Coconut and Peppermint Stick.

Max & Mina's, Flushing NY
One of the first ice cream shops to muster up the courage to try new and unusual flavors is Max & Mina’s. Safe to say they had a part in reigniting NY’s passion for ice cream and providing other shops the confidence to look outside their vanilla colored boxes.

If you love condiments, you’ll want to order their sour cream, ketchup or horseradish ice creams. Perhaps you loved the flavors of Maine, and would like to give Lox, Herring or Gefilte fish a chance. Other unusual but oddly delicious flavors include Garlic, Merlot, Pizza and Corn on the Cob.

Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, somewhere in NY
Although the BGICT serves delicious ice cream such as Dulce de Leche and Nilla Wafer, it’s the unusual toppings that are the real treat. Who wouldn’t want to add bacon, sea salt & olive oil, cayenne pepper or wasabi pea dust to kick up their frozen treat? The only downside is trying to pin down the elusive ice cream truck. The best way to find them is via Twitter .

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, New York, NY
The flavor that is causing the most buzz in Chinatown is Durian. Never heard of Durian? That's because most Americans do not possess the acquired taste necessary to ingest the notoriously stinky fruit. The unusual fruit has even made Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmern and Chefs vs. City hosts Aaron Sanchez and Chris Cosentino wretch a little.

If you’re daring enough to give it a try in frozen form, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is the place for you. If that doesn’t satisfy your adventurous palette, you could always order Black sesame, Wasabi or Zen butter. If you want to try something a little safer, give the Avocado a try.

Annabelle's Natural Ice Cream, Portsmouth NH
Although the majority of flavors listed on Annabelle’s menu are standard, the pride they take in providing all natural, kosher products is admirable. The one flavor that stands out and illustrates their New England pride is the New Hampshire Pure Maple Walnut ice cream. It’s not a far out flavor but finding pure, locally produced maple syrup ice cream is something to talk about!

The Bent Spoon, Princeton NJ
The Bent Spoon is always scooping something new, exciting, and absurdly creative into the mouths of New Jersey residents. What patrons love most of all is their ability to incorporate seasonal ingredients into their menu. Most popular are the apple sorbet during the harvest, sweet potato ice cream by Thanksgiving, and Stout ice cream around St. Patrick's Day.

House favorites include Cardamom Ginger, Sour cream, Earl Grey and Vanilla Bourbon.

{Want to make your own frozen treat at home? Try this honey lavender ice cream from}

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