It’s hard to imagine just how many flavors of ice cream exist. But creative ice cream makers keep coming up with new tastes all the time.
Take, for example, one boutique ice cream maker here that concocts custom ice cream flavors for big events and special occasions. During a recent charity event, The Chocolate Shoppe came up with a “festive yellow/red cookie dough” ice cream that had the distinct appearance of – you guessed it – sausage laden with yellow mustard. (Yum!) When the city this year wooed Google to bring its fiber optic service here, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Babcock Dairy launched Madfiber ice cream featuring M&Ms in Google’s company colors with sweet granola in vanilla ice cream.
Although it appears that I live in a magical Frozen Dairyland, plenty of other ice cream artisans across the country come up with unusual flavor combinations , too.  Exotic is the niche at In the Mood Coffee and Ice Cream in Woodbury and Magic Fountain in Mattituck. Not to be outdone, the tiny Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco keeps customers current with its 100 flavors including prosciutto, milk chocolate tarragon and foie via Twitter.
Regardless of the number of flavors out there, one flavor stands alone as the consummate favorite: vanilla. There are good reasons why. Vanilla is anything but plain or boring. Vanilla’s flavor profile is complex as the Washington Post notes.

“Such complexity and multidimensionality have made vanilla one of the most sought-after and copied spices. But its use is still fairly limited. We add it to sweet dishes to emphasize their sweetness. And that’s about it. Although homemade vanilla ice cream is one of the most wonderful things I know, I don’t think we should stop there.”

Plus, vanilla pairs well with just about everything. Check these top flavors from a Food Network survey. The top five of 15:

  1. Vanilla
  2. Chocolate
  3. Butter pecan
  4. Strawberry
  5. Neapolitan

For contrast, here are the top ice cream flavors based on sales listed by the NPD Group:

  1. Vanilla
  2. Chocolate
  3. Butter Pecan
  4. Strawberry
  5. Chocolate Chip Mint

I see a trend. What’s your favorite scoop?

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