Let’s cut to the chase: As billed by Three Twins Ice Cream, “The World’s More Expensive Most Expensive Ice Cream” includes a first-class flight to Tanzania, a stay in a fancy-ass resort, a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro with a guide as well as Three Twins founder Neal Gottlieb, and ice cream, which is hand-churned by Gottlieb with ice from the glacial summit of the mountain. The ice cream will be vanilla, unless another flavor is requested. It also includes “a souvenir T-shirt made from organic cotton.” It costs $60,000.
No one has made a purchase yet. If and when they do, $10,000 of that $60K will, as Gottlieb told CNBC, benefit “an African environmental non-profit;” CNBC also notes that Gottlieb hopes that “the purchase of the ice cream helps raise awareness of the mountain’s glaciers predicted to disappear in the next 10 to 15 years due to climate change.”
Gottlieb said the cost of a guided climb up Kilimanjaro will typically set one back between $1,000 to $3,000. This climb and safari costs $6,900. Both price ranges are, ah, a lot less than this ice cream. The “sundae” was inspired by Gottlieb’s 2011 hike to the summit of the mountain, during which he made himself some ice cream.
Helping non-profits is good. Reminding people that we’re pretty much destroying the planet we live on is good. But this sounds… we’re not sure. $10,000 is a lot less than $60,000. It’s also a lot less than $30,000, which is what would be left, assuming you spend $10K on flights, $10K on accommodations, and $10K on the trip to the summit. Hell, assume there’s a $10,000 fee to have an ice cream expert and member of the cast of Survivor 2016: Koah Rong make you a dish of vanilla. That’s still $20,000 left over, not $10,000.
We do not wish to dump on Mr. Gottlieb’s attempts at doing good, and it sounds like do-gooding is a big part of his overall business plan. As he told CNBC, “I wanted to combine my capitalist side with my do-gooder side… Ice cream was a way for me to start small, be organic and spread joy.” The company also started Ice Cream for Acres, an “innovative land conservation initiative,” in 2011; it helps protect “rainforest land, sensitive habitats, and other significant spaces” with every pint purchased. And hey, according to the Three Twins F.A.Q.: “Although we cannot speak to Neal’s relationship status here, he has always dreamed of being auctioned off (and also of jumping out of a cake) for charity.” So that’s always an option.
But some transparency—even if it’s just “this is a blatant marketing ploy, we just want the publicity”—seems warranted here.
If $60,000 is too steep a price for you, there’s also its predecessor, “The World’s Most Expensive Ice Cream Sundae.” You can get this gem, topped with syrups made from rare dessert wines, served with a 19th century ice cream spoon, and accompanied by a live performance from a cellist, for $3,333.33. “One-third of the purchase price will be donated to a local land trust.”
We reached out to a representative for Three Twins to confirm which charity will receive the $10,000, as well as the name of the land trust, but as yet have not received a response. We will update this story should we hear back.