Have you ever truly screamed for ice cream?

Of course the old rhyme-time gag would have us believe that not only do you and I both do it, but all of us do it! And while that might be a pretty sweeping conclusion, you've gotta admit, it is difficult to find a person who doesn't honestly enjoy this sweet and creamy treat.

Ice cream in its most-incipient state can be traced back to 7th-Century China, when the founder of the T'ang Dynasty, King T'ang of Shang, actually kept a team of 94 “ice men” on hand to carry natural ice back to his palace to make a dish containing koumiss (heated, fermented milk), flour, and camphor.

Roughly 700 years later, during Marco Polo's travels to the Orient, the famed explorer took the recipe back to Europe with him and from there, the modern-day dessert staple that was once reserved only for kings has been evolving for all classes of boys and girls to enjoy ever since.

Today of course, everything seemingly comes in way too many flavors, and ice cream is certainly no exception. In fact, the dairy-based delight is one of the most popular vehicles for culinary experimentation. So even though 31 flavors may have seemed like an awful lot when most of us were growing up, not there's at least 3,100 to be found in the world at large, and it wouldn't be surprising to know if that were actually more like 31,000!

March 3 marks an interesting day for spotlighting ice cream on our annual calendar (not too brightly though...since it might melt ;-). Every year, the day is known as "33 Flavors Day," which is a play on the digits in the old brand I alluded to - plus two. It's a 24-hour cycle designed to encourage ice cream lovers everywhere to get off of their tutti frutti treadmill, rum raisin routine or rocky rut and try something new.

And so, in the spirit of 33 Flavors Day, I present you with ten highly-unusual scoops for your waffle cone or dish that are all inspired by ingredients found right here in Washington State!

Now keep in mind that most of these offerings probably don't exist...well, not yet anyway. So don't go trying to find them at your local ice cream parlor. But perhaps at least a few of them will inspire the proprietors of sweet shops and soda fountains everywhere to create something brand new and vastly different from all those vanilla selections we already have...including vanilla!


Okay, so this is one that might actually already exist somewhere in the Evergreen State. And if it does, chances are you'll find it in Tacoma, where the Brown & Haley Company invented the now-famous chocolatey, almond-sprinkled toffee confection in 1912.

One thing's for certain though, if Almond Roca ice cream isn't yet a thing, then it absolutely needs to be...and quicker than soft serve liquifies on a hot summer day!


Here's another ice cream flavor that someone might have actually already given a go at making, but we can't be certain.

Aplets & Cotlets are as world renowned as Almond Roca is, and this fruity confection was invented even closer to home - in Cashmere, way back in 1918!

I'm not entirely certain whether this one would work better with chunks of the Turkish delight-style candy simply blended into a base flavor or if the ice cream itself should taste like Aplets and/or Cotlets. But either way, and just like the Almond Roca idea, someone needs to make this selection happen while its still ripe on the vine!

Asparagus isolated on white
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While our first two offerings went straight for your sweet tooth, this one's slightly more savory and even a tad bit exotic.

Did you know that Washington is one of the leading producers of asparagus in the nation? It's true! So it makes perfect sense that this smooth-tasting veggie with the delightfully nutty overtones would make a great ice cream flavor.

As for the hazelnuts, well we'd need to borrow those from our neighbors in Oregon, who grow 99 percent of the nation's crop.

As a lover of both main inclusions in this flavor idea, I think a slightly-sweet ice cream with these two pals buddied up would be fabulously refreshing on a sultry summer day.


Okay, I'm quite certain there's got to be a caramel apple-flavored ice cream out there somewhere, and you can switch out my selection of apples with any of the numerous varieties grown right here in Washington. But for my plain or sugar cone, the Cosmic Crisp is where it's at!

The state's newest darling of the produce section not only has a cool name, but it also absolutely rocks too! Cosmics are my favorite apple, and the thought of their flavor blended with ribbons of rich caramel makes me wish this flavor creation was already a reality.

So hurry up ice cream dreamers and shakers, and make this one happen before this year's crop is harvested!

A cat found a Nepeta plant and starts eating.
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Odd? To be sure. But wild catnip grows like feral felines have litters during kitten season here in Washington, and I think it might actually make a brilliant flavor of ice cream.

If you've ever grown or picked fresh catnip and rubbed its leaves between your fingers to get your kitty revved up, then you know how pleasing its robust aroma can be to your nose too!

Catnip tea has been a thing for a long time now, and I've had that myself. It can be a bit pungent, but I think a hint of our good friend mint twisted in with catnip would not only drive your feline wild, but also your taste buds!

So how about it? Can some crazy cat lady with an ice cream maker out there please give this one a try?


Now here's one that positively needs to be a thing!

All varieties of cheesecake ice cream are generally awesome! Especially if the more they truly taste like actual cheesecake.

So with that said, imagine the perfect cheesecake base with a generous swirl of this intensely floral and woodsy berry flavor spiraled in to finish it off? Perhaps it could even contain some whole elderberries too? Delicious!

We already have cheesecake ice creams with everything from strawberry and cherry to blackberry and huckleberry...so how about crafting one with this wildly enticing flavor? I'd say it's about time, wouldn't you?

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Alright, now before you say, "ew! gross!," give me a chance to explain the rational behind this one.

If you know your shellfish, then you know geoducks are in a class by themselves.
These massive mollusks, which can be found in abundant numbers on the shorelines of Washington's coastal waters, are every clam chowder afficianados dream.

Their meat is decadent and their texture offers a slight crunch. So would it be so unthinkable to make a savory ice cream flavor out of this titan of the clam world? I mean, clam chowder is a cream-based soup after all, so why not?

Refreshing Cold Craft Beer Assortment of IPA Lager and Stout

Yes, I know, beer ice cream is already a thing. But it bears mention for certain, even on our "mostly-fictitious" list of possible double and triple scoops. Especially since Washington is the number one hops producing state in the nation!

I'm not a beer drinker myself, but if this were done right with a bit of sweetness, I might just change my mind!

CLoseup Common Juniper branch with fresh blue berries
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Here's another one of our state's indigenous wild berries that absolutely needs to be introduced to ice cream so the two can become best friends!

If you've never tried a juniper berry, let's just say if you like gin at all, you'd be pleasantly surprised!

Juniper berries have distinctly piquant and piney flavor which might just make you think you had just taken a bite out of that tree-shaped air freshener hanging over the rear view mirror of your car.

Seriously though, an ice cream with juniper berries and a few pieces of toasted, cinnamon-and-sugar-sprinkled crust would be absolutely like finding Xanadu in the freezer case of your local ice cream shoppe!

So like Jean Luc Picard used to say in Star Trek the Next Generation, let's "make it so!"

Common morel fungus growing in the forest
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Hmmm....it seems we've saved the best....or perhaps just the most-bizarre for last?!

If you've ever "hunted" for morels before, then you know how illusive these not-so-little fungi can actually be. They're masters of camouflage on the forest floor, but once they've been found, they're become a rare delicacy like no other for mushroom lovers!

Morels are meaty, savory, and wonderfully smooth all at the same time; and they kind of look like the brain of a Gray alien, so there's that going for them too!

I know it's a stretch, but then again, a slightly-buttery, barely sweet ice cream with a copious number of tender morel caps and stems mixed in might just make you feel like the king of Smurf Village.

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