The Unexpected Ingredients Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Has Experimented With - Exclusive

There's nothing "vanilla" about Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. You'll find adventurous options ranging from Frosé Sorbet to Middle West Whiskey & Pecans on a rotating menu at the upscale ice cream brand's website and in its stores across the United States. But, if you think those varieties sound exotic ... well, you won't believe some of the unusual ingredients that company founder Jeni Britton has experimented with when formulating flavors. Like, for example, fish. (Yes, you read that correctly ... fish ice cream!).

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Britton explained that, when she first got into the ice cream business (under the name Scream), she collaborated with other vendors in the Ohio farmer's market where she had set up shop. "I mean, I have definitely made everything in the North Market, which is a typical indoor public market with a butcher shop, a fish shop, the cheese shop, wine merchant, beer, spices, chocolates, all sorts of vegetables and flowers," Britton explained. "I've pretty much made everything in that market into ice cream." And this indeed included fresh-caught gems from the sea. "What I did was a cucumber sake sorbet with salmon and it was ... I mean you don't need to eat that. It was more like lunch," she said, jokingly.

Cheese makes for great ice cream, according to Jeni Britton

While the fish ice cream wasn't a hit, Jeni's founder Jeni Britton said she had much better luck using cheese as an ingredient. "I don't know that any cheese has ever been really bad, to be honest," she remarked in an interview with Mashed, adding that a favorite has been "Gorgonzola Dulce, which [uses] a sweet blue cheese – and it's so incredible. Especially when you serve it with poached pears."

And that wasn't the only cheesy delight Britton served up cold. "There is a company just outside of Columbus [Ohio] that made a young gouda, which had this incredible creaminess. And I love that in ice cream. It was kind of like a cheesecake," she explained. Cheeses that you'd never think would taste good in an ice cream can be delicious with the right mix-ins, Britton added. "Even something like Parmesan, it has a sort of nuttiness. And so I did a Parmesan and then I made zucchini bread [and] put that in the ice cream," she said. "It was incredible." If you're now desperately craving cheese ice cream, there's good news — Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams offers Goat Cheese with Red Cherries by the pint.

Visit the Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams website or follow the brand on Instagram.