Crazy Ice Cream Flavors from Around the World

By Conde Nast Traveler


Courtesy iStock PhotoCourtesy iStock Photo SPAGHETTIEIS
Germany

Spaghettieis, or spaghetti ice cream, is an essential staple of a German summer. Vanilla ice cream, drawn through a grinder or pasta maker to resemble spaghetti, gets doused in a red compote of strawberry or raspberry. In lieu of Parmesan cheese, white chocolate or coconut flakes are sprinkled on top to complete the likeness. Lucky for German children everywhere, Dario Fontenella, the Italian ice cream maker who invented it in 1969 in Mannheim, never patented his creation, so it's readily available all over the German-speaking world today. -Chaney Kwak


Photograph by Susan HackPhotograph by Susan Hack FRANKINCENSE ICE CREAM
Salalah, Oman

In a 21st-century example of East meets West, American entrepreneur Trygve Harris has become a Dhofar celebrity by inventing the world's first frankincense ice cream. Harris, 48, moved to Salalah, Dhofar's port city, five years ago to source natural aromatics for her Manhattan-based essential oils company, Enfleurage, and she became a fan of the full cream milk sold by the Dhofar dairy farm belonging to the head of state, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. As an experiment, she infused the milk with the frankincense oil she distills from the sap of trees that grow near Mugsayl Beach; these trees, she says, produce a resin with a spicy, orange note. At the end of a hot Dhofar day I savored the ice cream. The flavor reminded me of an eastern Christmas: a refreshing mix of pine, mint, the smell of a church nave, and yes, a bit of orange. From June through September, Dhofar residents and visitors line up at Harris's artisanal ice cream stand in Salalah's Hafah souk, the country's biggest frankincense market, across from The Arabian Frankincense Store. Throughout the year, sample it during a visit to the Enfleurage distillery, where you can also learn about the benefits of pure frankincense oil. (968-2205-2003;absolutetrygve@gmail.com) -Susan Hack

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Photograph by June LeePhotograph by June LeeTIGER BEER ICE CREAM
Singapore

At Island Creamery in Singapore, ice cream aficionados line up for locally themed flavors such as durian, Horlicks, and pineapple tart. But beer lovers have an unusual choice: Tiger beer sorbet.
It took ice cream maker Stanley Kwok, who considers Tiger draft his favorite thirst-quencher, 12 attempts to perfect the sorbet's consistency. Foam and bubbles in the brew made the ice too airy, and alcohol takes longer to freeze than other liquids. But the efforts paid off: The final product is a perfect balance of the beer's original crisp, citrusy flavors and subtle bitter hops, captured in a densely packed cold treat (and sold for S$2.80 per single scoop).
If you're not keen on alcohol in your desserts, try the creamery's trademarked Singapore special: teh tarik ice cream. Inspired by the frothy "pulled tea" traded in local Malay-Indian stalls, the scoop has all the intense tea flavor without the tooth-aching sweetness. -June Lee


Photograph by Park Hyatt SeoulPhotograph by Park Hyatt SeoulPATBINGSU
Seoul

Patbingsu is a South Korean summertime dessert made from shaved ice garnished with red bean paste, condensed milk, fresh fruit, ice cream, and cereal. Infinite variations exist. Lotteria, the top Korean fast food chain, adds pumpkin seeds, pineapple, and mini-marshmallow-sized bits of tteok (glutinous rice cake) to theirs. The Park Hyatt Seoul serves a version with dark chocolate sauce and candied orange slices. Every café has its own rendition, often made with green tea or coffee ice cream.
Each mouthful is a combination of textures-chewy, crunchy, and creamy-and as the shaved ice melts, it turns into a cold, sweet soup. In Korea, everybody from kids to grandparents eats patbingsu all summer long. It's available-and ubiquitous-from May through September, and is a particular favorite of young couples who, with two spoons and a shared dish between them, can enjoy a sweetly romantic moment. -Nell McShane Wulfhart


Photograph by Ondine CohanePhotograph by Ondine CohaneOLIVE OIL GELATO

Tuscany

Olive oil, cheese, seasonal fruit, and grapes are some of Tuscany's great draws so why not use them in the country's famous gelato? That was the thinking of Ignazio Morviducci who opened Gelateria Toscana last year in Pienza. "Sure we have the classic flavors like Stracciatella and hazelnut, but I also wanted to highlight ingredients from even closer to home that represent this area." That was the genus of some of his offbeat flavors: an olive oil version, a pecorino and pear blend, and the popular panaforte flavor, based on the desert from Siena. His milk comes from the Maremma, the coastal part of Tuscany known for its sleek white cows; the olive oil from his own farm; and the pecorino from Cugusi, a farm on the road between Pienza and Montepulciano famous for this local cheese. But how does it taste? I go for the olive oil one and find it creamy, creamy with just the tiniest bite-like the best olive oil. Via E. Mangiavacchi, 3, Pienza (Siena); 39-0578-748-538. -Ondine Cohane


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Photograph by Jessica BeatonPhotograph by Jessica BeatonMANGO STICKY RICE
Thailand

Hot weather signals ice cream time in many parts of the world, but summer is mango season in Thailand. An abundance of this sweet fruit means one dish is at nearly every restaurant, local market, and street vendor's cart through mid-July: mango and sticky rice, or khao neeo mamuang.
This simple dish pairs mango (usually the juicier nam dawk mai and ok rong varieties) with sticky rice that has absorbed coconut milk; the dessert is then is topped by more salted and sweetened coconut milk, and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. What makes one mango sticky rice stand out from the rest? It's all about temperature: Contrary to what you might expect from a summer treat, you want the coconut milk topping and rice to be warm when served. -Jessica Beaton


Photograph by Callie MeyerPhotograph by Callie MeyerCHEDDAR CHEESE ICE CREAM
Seattle

Cheddar cheese and ice cream go together like the rainy Pacific Northwest and summer sweets: surprisingly well. You can taste the combo in a single spoonful, thanks to the "Beecher's Flagship" ice cream flavor created by Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle. The unlikely dessert is the brainchild of Molly Moon's owner Molly Neitzel, who collaborated with the city's Beecher's cheese shop because it shared her artisanal, local-first philosophy-and because Neitzel simply liked watching cheesemakers manhandle huge slabs of curd at Beecher's Pike Place Market headquarters.

The iced treat is milder than the semi-hard Flagship cheese usually served on crackers; Beecher's uses raw cow's milk and ages it 15 months for a strong flavor signature. The off-white ice cream, on the other hand-which is supersmooth thanks to 19 percent butterfat-is almost vanilla until a nutty tang finally hits the palate. Pick up a pint for $5.50. -Allison Williams


Photograph by Anthony GrantPhotograph by Anthony GrantHALVA ICE CREAM
Tel Aviv

Halva is a sweet confection common in the Middle East. The key ingredient is sesame seeds, which are smashed into a paste with sugar or honey. Sometimes chocolate coating, pistachios, or coffee swirls are added, but the main event is sesame, and there's a dry but earthy softness to it.

My favorite in town is from Vaniglia. The mini chain's halva scoop retains that pleasantly sandy sensation you find in regular halva candy, but when doctored up with fresh cream, sugar, and a touch of honey, the dryness of halva changes into something altogether more refreshing. -Anthony Grant


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