Don’t be ashamed to admit it — you have your set of three or four flavors you get every time you go out for ice cream. It’s awkward to hold up the line and try all those interesting flavors when you know you will end up resorting to the signature mint chip. But have no fear, ice cream lovers! Untapped Cities traversed lower Manhattan in pursuit of the strangest gelato flavors we could find.
1. Il Laboratorio del Gelato, Ludlow Street
Founded by the creator of Ciao Bella Gourmet Ice Cream, all of the ice cream in the Laboratorio is made in house. This shop is also in the perfect location for an ice cream shop: right across from Katz’s Deli. After consuming a giant pastrami on rye you could continue on a carb-a-licious spree. Il Laboratorio was gracious to let us try every single flavor – here’s a roundup of the craziest ones.
Avocado. Yes, avocado ice cream. The creamy and soft texture of an avocado is perfect for a combination with frozen cream and sugar. The only apt way to describe avocado ice cream is to say that it is simply avocado in ice cream form.
Mastic. Mastic is a piney flavor from the sap of a Mastic Tree. We know we’re writing about cities here, but are you familiar with that refreshing pine smell of walking into a forest? No, not that little air freshener hanging from your taxi drivers window –a real forest. This ice cream flavor encapsulates that smell into a taste.
Yeti Beer. Somehow, the gods of ice cream found a way to combine the classic bitterness of beer with the sweet creamy taste of ice cream and actually make it work. As we’re sure you were wondering — it takes a solid ton of this ice cream to maybe make you feel a little bit tipsy.
Cheddar Cheese. This ice cream was much denser than the others. Eating it almost felt like biting into something solid instead of that usual creamy and smooth ice cream texture. This ice cream flavor didn’t quite have that sharp taste of cheddar cheese, but there were actual bits of cheddar in the ice cream!
2. Victory Garden, Carmine Street
Victory Garden’s ice cream is made special with goat milk from Sidehill Acres by Ithaca. Victory Garden combines the mediterranean themes of rose, mastic, and saffron with more seasonal tones like cinnamon and fruity jams.
They feature four different soft serve flavors on a daily rotation – Here are Untapped’s favorites.
Goat Milk. We frequently forget how milk has a very distinct flavor – why not capture it in ice cream? It’s just as refreshing. Have you ever had cereal milk ice cream from Momofuku? The goat milk flavor tastes a bit like that. Victory Garden’s goat milk ice cream is inspired from by the tradition of Anatolian Dondurma, a rich goat milk ice cream made with the root of the wild orchid.
Cinnamon Lemon. At first we puckered at the thought of this unlikely combination. However, this flavor is quite delicious. The tangy lemon is complemented wonderfully by the cinnamon undertones as neither flavor dominates in this ice cream.
We know its not ice cream, but… The chia seed agave pudding, made out of chia seeds, cashew milk, and agave nectar was nothing short of delicious. The round and chewy chia seeds gave an interesting texture to the thin cashew milk. This pudding is definitely worth a taste!
They also have pies in jars. A crispy crust at the bottom of the jar with mastic jam and then sour cherries on top. Whip out the instagram, everyone.
3. Cones, Bleecker Street
Located on Bleecker Street, Cones has a wide variety of delicious flavors all hand made in the store. Cones is constantly experimenting with new and crazy flavors. Untapped has been coming here for a while now – here are the best flavors:
Mate. Mate, pronounced ma-tay, is a green tea variety popular in South America. This flavor holds the same refreshing quality of regular green tea ice cream, but it doesn’t have that sort of bitter after taste. This flavor is our all around favorite at Cones.
Johnnie Walker. This is possibly the most pricey ($1 just to taste!) and unique flavor Cones has to offer. Made from the actual whiskey, this ice cream makes you feel like Jack Donaghy. This ice cream has a huge fan base – Cones sells it by the pint. Unlike the yeti beer of Il Laboratorio, this ice cream gives you the sensation of drinking…and could actually make you drunk.
Zabayone. This flavor is crafted with Marsala wine. Think chicken marsala in ice cream form, but it’s tastier than it sounds!
4. Sundaes and Cones, East 10th Street
Sundaes and Cones has a prime East Village location for taking a beautiful walk with ice cream in hand. Untapped Cities was here over the summer when they had lavender and guava flavored ice cream. All the flavors are made in house, and they change with the season. Here’s what we tried:
Sesame. Yes, that’s right — sesame. Like the seed. They toast sesame seeds in house so the sesame ice cream is actually a charcoal color. It had a dense and gritty texture to it but it really did taste like sesame seeds!
Corn. The corn flavored ice cream actually tastes like corn. But sweeter. And colder. It is particularly delicious with a cinnamon topping. They also use real corn – there is skin in the ice cream!
Honey Dew. You would expect honey dew to be a sorbet flavor but it’s actually an ice cream! It had the fruity qualities of honey dew but was much sweeter and creamier (no surprises there).
When we were in Sundaes & Cones, the cheery employee implored us to taste the vanilla even though it wasn’t part of our “crazy flavor” search. The vanilla was hand scraped from vanilla beans. It was clean and crisp, with a distinctness that none of the other flashy flavors could match. While avocado and Jalapeño can try and compete, nothing can touch classic hand made vanilla.
Untapped Cities has been a huge fan of ice cream for a while – check out our guide to Chinatown’s Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, an interview with the founders of Big Gay Ice Cream, the ice cream shops left out of Foursquare’s Game of Cones, and the 2012 Ice Cream Takedown. Also, make your own Irish Coffee Ice Cream with this recipe!