Plain vanilla ice cream might soon go out of fashion in Lithuania, where chefs are experimenting with natural flavours including fresh vegetables, flowers, and even stinging nettles.
When it comes to the world's best-frozen treats, ice cream seems to be entering into a new era. Chefs around the world are experimenting with flavours and each country is adding some of its own taste into ice cream production. An ice cream shop in Portland came up with kimchi and rice ice cream, while lobster and tilapia ice cream is known to have appeared in other parts of the U.S.
Chefs in Lithuania are now going an extra mile to create ice cream flavours with a local touch - here's a list of some of the weirdest ice cream flavours created in the country.
Pine needle ice cream. Pine needles have been long known as a source of vitamin C. According to health specialists, pine needles improve the immune system, strengthen the body, and slow down ageing. Freshly harvested pine needles, sugar powder, and cream are the main ingredients of this delight. This unusual combination smells just like a Christmas tree.
Peony ice cream. Peony flowers are not just beautiful. Apparently, they can also be delicious. The founders of the Labanoras restaurant tell us that these are made from petal syrup mixed with cream. The petals turn the ice cream pink and make it smell like perfume.
Carrot ice cream. As carrots are quite sweet, they are often used in cakes, puddings, and pancakes. According to food historians, the use of carrots as sweeteners dates back to the First World War, when a sugar deficit was felt. When preparing this ice cream, chefs soak carrots in maple syrup, which gives them an excellent caramel aftertaste.
Rhubarb ice cream. Wonder what Lithuanian childhood tastes like? Rhubarb! Now available in ice cream form. Fresh rhubarb is rich in vitamins C, P, and K. Rhubarb ice cream also contains leaves, sugar, water, orange peel, ginger, and salt.
Beetroot ice cream. Beetroot is a healthy choice, which can be used not only in main dishes and smoothies but also in various cakes and cupcakes. This beetroot dessert has a deep, earthy aroma, marvellous purple colour, and goes well with dark chocolate.
Lavender ice cream. Natural ice cream made from flowers without additives is probably the best choice for dessert lovers promoting a healthy lifestyle. Lavender petals are soaked overnight in vanilla ice cream to reveal the aroma. The taste is breath-taking!
Quark and nettle ice cream. While the combination of quark and stinging nettle may sound strange, ice cream from these ingredients is delicious, fresh, reminiscent of green tea, and healthy. Nutritionists say that nettle is rich in vitamins, but if nettle soup (delicious by the way) does not rock your boat, ice cream might be a better choice.
Linden honey and dill oil ice cream. Although dill is commonly used as a spice, according to the kitchen chef of the Velvetti restaurant in southern Lithuania, dill oil balances the sweetness of the honey and gives the dessert a savoury quality.
Seaweed and caviar ice cream. Seaweed and caviar ice cream – a treat for those looking for something exotic. More of a snack than a dessert, trying it is a must if you happen to visit the Lithuanian seacoast. The taste is reminiscent of sushi.
Spinach and tarragon ice cream. For veggie lovers, spinach and tarragon ice cream will be a great alternative to a smoothie. Spinach is considered one of the healthiest vegetables in the world, and its combination with tarragon will pleasantly surprise you.
Beer ice cream. The Lithuanian Beer Academy, which cherishes long-standing beer traditions, offers to taste beer flavoured ice cream! According to the ice cream chef, only dark beer is used for production because of his strong caramel aftertaste. To ensure sweetness, they also use sugar and lemon juice. Chips and beer ice cream – looks like we have a new sauna package combination!
Smoked mackerel ice cream. It seems like ice cream could be boldly called a real detective! Why? The Chef at Apvalaus Stalo Klubas restaurant keeps the recipe of smoked mackerel ice cream secret. However, this is the perfect reason to come and taste. The fish lovers will be impressed!
This list of ice cream offers a glimpse into the world of unexpected flavours that tourists can taste in Lithuania. Want more? The full map with 47 different ice cream parlours and restaurants can be found here.