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By James McKean
Love or hate the idea, Heston Blumenthal’s egg and bacon flavoured ice cream arguably sounded the death knell for traditional ice cream flavours – never again would chocolate and vanilla be anything other than ‘also-rans’. Alongside the egg and bacon original, Blumenthal was also responsible for sardine on toast and mustard flavour ice creams. Sacrilege in dairy form, or an exciting and long overdue expansion of the boundaries of conventional flavours?
Whilst the heyday of fish-flavoured ice cream may (mercifully) be a long way in the future, experimentation with new flavours looks set to catch on. London has recently seen the establishment of a wave of new ‘ice cream parlours’, many of which aim to stand out from the crowd by producing a range of unusual flavours, particularly savoury varieties. Herb or spice flavoured ice creams, as well as alcohol-inspired options such as mojito or Vin Santo are increasingly common, with some of the more adventurous companies offering combinations such as beetroot with horseradish or olive oil with sea salt.
There must, however, come a point at which ‘adventurousness’ veers into downright disrespect. The attempt of an English cheese business recently to combine their cheddar cheese with ice cream in a shameless bid to create a dairy super-product was poorly received, whilst it seems that Brits are yet to embrace the idea of a spicy desert- wasabi flavoured ice cream was another recent non-starter. With celebrity chefs continuing to direct the direction of culinary fashions in the UK, it looks as if the days of the humble chocolate ice cream may be well and truly numbered.