Restaurant Trends

All artists seek inspiration from different places, people, and moments. As an ice cream maker, your artistry has a wide realm to revel in. There are endless ingredients and spice combinations to try; it’s just a matter of being creative enough—and crazy enough—to try something unusual. For some, it’s the crazy flavors that have put their ice cream parlor or restaurant on the map.

Before your next ice-cream-flavor-brainstorm session, get inspired with these crazy ice cream flavors below. And don’t underestimate what’s already in your inventory. Check which ingredients are in your pantry using your Ice Cream Shop POS, and get to churning!

Garlic Ice Cream

Some chefs would be lost without garlic in their pantry. The owners of California-based restaurant Stinking Rose, on the other hand, wouldn’t have a business without this Mediterranean culinary staple! As the name suggests, everything on the menu includes garlic. Not only do they serve the traditional garlicky fare, like garlic mashed potatoes and garlic noodles, but their inventive bar manager also created the Gartini (a vodka martini with pickled garlic for garnish).

But which dish is it that guests are raving about on Yelp? None other than the garlic ice cream. Reviewers recommend finishing a meal at the Stinking Rose with this unexpected dessert, which comes topped with caramel sauce.

Goat Cheese and Beet Ice Cream

They say you can find inspiration anywhere when you’re open-minded. The owner of Denver’s Sweet Action Ice Cream, Samantha Kopicko, was inspired by the most routine of muses: her daily lunch of spinach, beet, and goat cheese salad. On a whim, she decided to convert her favorite meal into a creamy dessert, and the result is an earthy, cheesy ice cream flavor.

This unusual ice cream combines sweet and savory flavors. Goat cheese serves as the base, and then homemade beet syrup is swirled in, (fortunately, spinach was left out of this recipe).

Lobster Ice Cream

The Northeastern United States boasts a large bounty of lobster every year, and it ends up in almost every dish. Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium in Bar Harbor, Maine folds lobster into a decadent ice cream treat with a butter base. When you’re ready for a not-so-sweet, but oh-so-buttery seafood treat, lobster ice cream is the way to go. 

Learn more about ice cream trends with sweet and savory flavor combinations.

White Chocolate Banana Curry

If your first instinct upon reading “White Chocolate Banana Curry Ice Cream” is to crinkle your nose and scratch your head…you’re not alone: this combination of flavors is wild. The brilliant mastermind behind this flavor is ice cream shop owner and gelato maker Jessica Oloroso. In order to create this ice cream, bananas are melted with white chocolate and sprinkled with heady curry powder.

Her parlor Black Dog Gelato in Chicago is known for its inventive ice creams inspired by Asian flavors, like sesame and cucumber. Since Oloroso sources directly from local farmers, it’s not uncommon to find a fresh vegetable ice cream with floral essences year-round.

Hawaiian Pizza Ice Cream Sandwich

Hawaiian-pizza lovers: Rejoice! Your favorite pizza has been transformed into a decadent sweet. The ground-breaking pizza is now breaking boundaries on dessert menus, too.

Chef Chris Oh of Los Angeles hot-spot Hanjip, and Coolhaus (self-described as “architecturally-inspired ice cream” makers), teamed up to create this unexpected ice cream dish. First, pineapple ice cream is prepared and accented with flecks of Spam. To be able to resemble the hand-held style of eating pizza, the pineapple-and-spam ice cream is sandwiched between two white chocolate, macadamia nut cookies.

This pizza-inspired creation is available on the dessert menu of Hanjip, and is an inspired take on the major new dessert trend: artisan ice cream.

Gruyere and Meringue Ice Cream

In the United States, Ben & Jerry’s and Breyer’s ice cream brands dominate grocery store aisles; in Switzerland, Movenpick is the ice-cream leader. One of their most popular flavors is the Double Crème de la Gruyere and Meringues. The tangy and nutty Gruyere is the same cheese used in fondue, making for an unexpected ice-cream base. Combined with sweet meringue and a hint of caramel, this unusual combination is a knock-out.

Foie Gras Ice Cream

French ice cream maker Philippe Faur is known for transforming decadent savory flavors into ice creams, like caviar or Roquefort cheese. Their foie gras ice cream might be the most crazily luxurious of all, though. Because of its bitter taste, foie gras is often served with a glass of sweet wine, like a Sauterne. For that reason, the idea to transform foie gras into a sweet ice cream is rather brilliant. The ice cream crafters worked with foie gras specialist Maison Rougie to produce an unmatched, albeit crazy, ice cream flavor.

Pickled Mango

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is known for its flavor combinations that break the mold when it comes to ice cream. Pickled Mango ice cream is offered in the summer for a limited time and offers a bit of spicy mango sauce made with white pepper and clove over a cream cheese-based ice cream. The rich ice cream complements the spicy sweetness for a cool retreat away from the summer heat.

Custom Mixed Ice Creams

At Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream, which is now a chain across the East coast spanning to the Midwest, ice cream is made to order then flash frozen. Jerry and Naomi Hancock come from backgrounds in chemistry and education and turned their passion for innovation into delectable sweet treats. At Sub Zero, you can customize your own sweet treats, or try one of their house concoctions like the Key Lime Voltage.

Thanks to the success of their made your way ice creams, they can run their ice cream shops without freezers. Without freezers, they have the space to offer a huge variety of flavors and offer customers creative freedom in their ice cream flavor choices. Now, they offer STEM presentations of their nitrogen freezing process to schools across the country, sharing their love of custom ice creams with the world.

Find more inspiration for your ice cream shop with ice creams from around the world.