Mayo Ice Cream Is a Gateway to Other Savory Sundaes

Why not experiment with more condiments mixed in with your ice cream?

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Ice cream makers are having an absolute field day with experimental flavors lately. Salt and Straw gave us turkey and gravy, while Van Leeuwen offered up pizza and, most recently, Grey Poupon mustard, all of which we’ve tried. And now there’s a concept store in London that’s dedicated to everyday condiment-flavored ice cream called The Ice Cream Project, which has made novelty scoops out of flavors like ketchup, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, and more.

Is mayonnaise ice cream any good?

In all my time as a food writer, I’m not really sure I’ve found a condiment more contentious than mayo. Some people can’t live without the stuff (me) for its rich texture and flavor that keeps sandwiches from going dry, its ability to bind salads, and as its function as a topping for stuff like hot dogs, even. At its core, mayo is just eggs and oil (along with a little acid depending on the recipe). So why wouldn’t that make a good ice cream flavor?

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One customer at The Ice Cream project reported her experience with the mayonnaise ice cream, and it wasn’t particularly favorable. The New York Post quotes curious taster Saaliha Ledgister as saying, “I tried mayonnaise and ketchup so far. The mayonnaise wasn’t good. The ketchup is a bit better, but they’re not as sweet as I would like because I’ve got quite a sweet tooth.”

This isn’t the first time mayo has been transformed into an ice cream, however. In 2018, TODAY reported that a Scottish ice cream shop called ICE, in Falkirk, had created a mayo novelty ice cream too, much to the chagrin of the internet. The owner, Kyle Gentleman (who has an awesome last name), said it was a “full on hit of fat and cream followed with an eggy milky aftertaste ...yum!” Different strokes for much different folks, I guess.

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That got us wondering: What other condiments would make a really great ice cream flavor?

Chili crisp really does go with everything

chili crisp on table
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Though this isn’t a new concept, chili crisp and ice cream makes for an excellent pairing. I’d heard it was good via social media some years back, so I tried the combination one day on a scoop of vanilla and was blown away at the contrast of texture and flavor. The fried dried chili flakes and seasoning add crunch, the oil lends a silky luxurious layer, and the mild heat makes the ice cream’s cooling effect so much more enticing. Of course, there’s the salt too, which amplifies the other flavors in the ice cream, and yes, the combination fulfills the savory and sweet thing. This is a no-brainer.

Embrace fish sauce as a dessert flavor

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Fish sauce is one of Asia’s most beloved condiments and cooking ingredients, and I firmly believe it’s something the rest of the world should embrace. It’s particularly savory due to naturally occurring glutamates in fish, which would make every spoonful of sweet ice cream more compelling than the last. Fish and ice cream? Unusual, maybe. A great combination? There’s only one way to find out.

Pesto could be a perfect ice cream topper

pesto in bowl
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Many of us know basil for its role in dishes like pizza, and of course, pesto. Pesto is a unique condiment and sauce that celebrates a whole gamut of flavors, including the tanginess of parmesan, the sharp pungency of garlic, and the licorice-like herbaceousness of basil. Basil is underrated in sweets, if you ask me. Ever have a sweet cocktail with basil in it? They’re delicious. Now imagine the complexity of pesto’s flavor in ice cream. It would be amazing.

The world of condiments is vast. There’s all sorts of dressings we use to enhance our food. So if you had a choice, which condiment would you like to see turned into a frozen pint of dessert?

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