Why Ice Cream Smell Matters, According To The Founder Of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams - Exclusive

Whether it's the scent of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, or the enticing aroma of garlic simmering in some extra virgin olive oil in a pan, smell is definitely an important part of enjoying food. Even ice cream. Most of us probably wouldn't think to sniff a cold scoop of our favorite flavor — but maybe we're missing out. According to Jeni Britton, founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, scent indeed can play an important role in how we experience the treat. 

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Britton said that, in fact, it was her exploration of how ice cream could be a multi-sensory experience that inspired her earliest creations. "One day, I got this idea that I could use ice cream to carry scent," Britton recalled, referencing the time she wanted to make a rose petal ice cream. "I [made it] with my $400-an-ounce rose petal, which I had five drops of ... and I mixed that into a vanilla ice cream."  And the combination was transformative, Britton added. "In that moment, before I'd even tasted the rose I just thought ... ice cream can be so much more exciting! The way it melts, and the way that it releases scent and flavor and it's cold ... it's multi-sensory." But after getting a bit of the rose petal on her taste buds, Britton remembered, "The way that then bloomed into my olfactory, I was hooked!"

Ice cream is about much more than taste, according to Jeni Britton

Not only does ice cream involve many senses beyond the taste buds, but a really good bowl or cone should go beyond the physical experience and impact you emotionally, too, according to Jeni's founder Jeni Britton. "It's not just the actual ice cream, it's everything that's happening around [it]. I mean, most of the time when we eat ice cream, we're getting to know someone else better," she explained. "And actually, we're revealing a little bit about ourselves."

This became apparent to Britton when she first got into the business, selling her legendary flavors at a store called Scream that was located within a market in Columbus, Ohio. The budding entrepreneur noticed that whenever a customer deliberated between flavors, they would end up sharing something special about themselves in the process. "I worked the counter for 10 years, so I just know how people interact with ice cream," she said. "They're speaking through their flavor and telling a little bit about themselves. And [we are] also learning about someone else in that process, too. And there's just a lot of energy around that and [it's] a lot of fun."

For more ice cream inspiration, visit the Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams website or follow the brand on Instagram.