Love icecream but find vanilla too boring?
A Bay of Plenty restaurant surprised customers when it added bacon-flavoured icecream to the menu this month.
When 59-year-old business man Craig Greenlees spotted Bacon and Bourbon icecream with caramel sauce on the dessert menu at Somerset Cottage in Bethlehem he thought it must be a misprint.
"It sounded odd so I queried it but no, it was definitely bacon icecream. In my business travels I like to try different tastes so I thought why not, I will give it a go."
Mr Greenlees said he was pleasantly surprised.
"The bacon was a subtle savoury flavour and the texture was really nice. I liked it, I would definitely order it again. I think it is a more adult taste - I guess with the bourbon in it would be."
Mr Greenlees, a customer of Somerset Cottage for 30 years said he was already a fan of the restaurant's liquorice and orange juice icecream.
Both are creations of owner Rick Lowe, who said the bacon icecream was a new addition to the menu and customers were loving it, with one customer asking 'is there a misprint on the dessert menu, or, if it's not a misprint maybe there is a God after all.
"I had made a parmesan icecream in the past, and a garlic mousse but they were served with savoury dishes. I liked the idea of offering something different as a dessert," Mr Lowe said.
Bay chef Peter Blakeway said a bacon and egg icecream created by British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal was inspiring chefs to introduce savoury flavours to desserts, and the dietary trend for less sugar was also a factor.
"It started with chilli and chocolate flavour - that dates back to the Aztecs when chocolate was savoury. It was only the French that added sugar to it."
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Blakeway himself had served up avocado and goats cheese icecream, and a smoked salmon sorbet. He commended Somerset Cottage for challenging perceptions.
"Rick is a talented chef and I can't wait to try it."
Dunedin-based icecream distributor Gourmet Foods of New Zealand, which provides icecream for restaurants in the Bay, has had very unusual flavours in the past, including Vegemite, Japanese Green Tea and oyster juice.
"We would do anything provided it is within food safety regulations," said director Mark Scobie. Mr Scobie said he had made a garlic icecream, "it did make the churn pong a bit," and had recently provided a Speights flavoured icecream for a music festival.
Icecream parlours in the Bay said their customers might need persuading away from their favourite chocolate flavour. Rebecca Chester at Monte Gelato in Mount Maunganui said a recent rose-petal flavour had been taken off the menu.
"It was a bit weird and perfumey."
Danny Nyffeler, owner of Copenhagen Cones in the Mount said his customers preferred traditional flavours and in the past had not gone for funkier flavours such as Jurassic Park flavour.
"No we don't have bacon. They like cookies and cream."