Move over, Mister Softee! From cotton-candy clouds to fish-shaped cones and watermelon sandwiches, the coolest (and most picture-perfect) ice cream trends of 2017 revealedJuly 6, 2017, 12:51 pm
If you consider yourself a vanilla-and-chocolate swirl loyalist, this story is not for you.
Whether or not you personally snap and post pictures of every last thing you eat, there’s no denying that Instagram has inspired a whole lot of innovation in the food industry, with chefs and bakers now constantly competing to keep ahead of the pack with dishes that look as incredible as they taste.
That means that this summer, there’s already an entirely new crop of ice cream trends to try, from unexpected flavors (think yam and corn) to eye-popping toppings (like cereal, crispy potato chips, and fluffy cotton candy).
Scroll down to see some of the biggest trends and special releases of Summer 2017 — there are still plenty of warm days left to try them all.
Fish-shaped ‘taiyaki’ cones
What fish have to do with ice cream is sort of a head-scratcher, but the combination has attracted thousands to shops across the country.
There’s no need to worry — we’re not talking salmon-flavored soft serve or scoops of cod ‘n creme. Rather than the ice cream itself, it’s the cones that are getting the aquatic animal twist.
Called taiyaki, cones shaped like fish — with the fish’s mouth open at the top to hold the frozen treat, and a narrower tail to hold onto — are popping up from coast to coast.
Whereas cones used to be an afterthought (waffle, cake, or sugar?), more creameries are offering cones in special colors, flavors, and shapes these days.
Spots like Taiyaki in New York, SomiSomi in Los Angeles, and Uji Time in Berkeley have found Instagram gold with their adorable fish cones.
Dominique Ansel’s fruit and veggie concoctions
The genius behind the Cronut never stops innovating, introducing new limited-edition sweets several times a year at his bakery locations in New York, London, and Tokyo.
In the past, he’s raised eyebrows with his balsamic-topped burrata soft serve — and now he’s switching things up again with three new creations.
In May he introduced the Kiwi Sorbet Bar, which looks just like a real sliced kiwi, albeit rectangular. Made with a center of vanilla bean ice cream surrounded by homemade kiwi sorbet and poppy seeds, the bar is then covered in milk chocolate ‘fuzz’.
Through July 4 in New York, he’s also serving a watermelon-flavored treat called What-a-Melon Soft Serve, which is presented inside a real slice of watermelon, sprinkled with chocolate ‘seeds’, and accompanied by a little container of sea salt to sprinkle on top.
There’s one treat that might just be too edgy for Americans, though — and right now, it’s only for sale in Japan: corn ice cream. The chef has whipped up caramel sweet corn soft serve, dotted it with caramel corn (not popcorn — corn corn), and serves it in actual grilled corn on the cob with soy sauce and butter.
Cotton candy clouds
This is not the cotton candy ice cream of your youth — though that extra-sugary blue-and-pink hard-packed treat was delicious, too. These days, ice cream shops are getting in the carnival spirit by adding literal cotton candy to their cones.
Clearly a result of the let’s-see-how-much-dessert-we-can-pile-on-top-of-this-dessert trend, the fairy floss frozen confection has taken off outside the US too, with popular shops in the UK, Australia, and across Asia.
Some shops simply stick the cotton candy on top, while others fashion it around the cone, creating the effect that the ice cream is floating on a magical, sugary cloud.
Popular spots include OddFellows NYC (which has been selling it since 2015), Wu Kong in NYC, and CottonHi in LA, while London’s Milk Train keeps customers satisfied across the pond.
Purple use everything
A flavor that once made some Americans nervous — ube wasn’t exactly a widely-used veggie in the US, though it’s popular in Southeast Asia — is now pretty ubiquitous, popping up in desserts in major cities and small towns alike. But swirls of purple ube ice cream are the most in-demand, by Instagram standards.
Soft Swerve in NYC and Ihalo Krunch in Toronto both offer versions of the bright purple ice cream, while some shops have gone so far as to mash it up with other trends.
Wanderlust Creamery in Tarzana, California offers theirs in a fish cone, while Sweet Cup in San Diego will let you have scoops in their rolled taco-style cones.
It comes in hard-packed and soft-serve, sandwiched between cookies and slices of brioche, and inside macaron sandwiches.
And there’s an added bonus: While ube ice cream is still definitely ice cream (and shouldn’t be counted toward your daily vegetable intake), it might still have some of the veggie’s benefits, like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and potassium.
Hello Kitty x Afters Ice Cream
Afters Ice Cream — a California chain with locations up and down the west coast — has teamed up with Hello Kitty for a super cute collaboration that just launched.
In addition to temporarily making over the Irvine location with Hello Kitty decor, the shops are all serving treats up in Hello Kitty cups and selling Hello Kitty ice cream-themed swag.
Then there are the new flavors: Yummy Strawberry Cake and Mama’s Apple Pie, which will be available all summer.
Cereal makes the best topping
It didn’t take thinking too far outside the box for people to realize that sugary breakfast cereal makes for great sugary ice cream toppings.
Some choices are all about the flavor, like Cookie Crisps, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Honey Smacks.
Others, though, pack a big visual punch, like rainbow Fruity Pebbles (which go on a lot like sprinkles), Froot Loops, and Lucky Charms.
While Birthdae Cake in LA,Square Bar Cafe in San Diego, and Emack & Bolio’s in NYC (which does a fun cereal-spackled cone) all have Insta-famous options, cereals on the topping bar are really showing up just about everywhere.
Crunchy, savory potato chips
When it comes to odd savory and sweet combinations, it’s best not to knock it ’til you try it. Potato chips might not seem like a must-have topping to those who swear by hot fudge or sprinkles, but that bit of crunch and salt is fast earning fans at one New York City eatery.
French Fry shop 375 Fries, which opened just this spring, serves more than just fries and dipping sauces (and special plates, like poutine and fry nachos).
They also have honey glazed potato chips, which they’ll sprinkle on top of vanilla soft serve with some apple crumbs and honey butter syrup.
Though the treat just debuted two weeks ago, it’s already earning plenty of Insta attention.
Via Daily Mail