In an earlier era, choosing an ice cream flavor was easy. The standard options were vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate, and sometimes a slab of Neapolitan — which was a banded combination of all three. Exotic flavors were things like peppermint stick, rocky road, maybe pistachio. Classics like these remain greatly appreciated at the most popular ice cream shops around the U.S.
Today, however, thanks to improved technology and expanding tastes, there seems to be no limit on what ice cream can be flavored with. Almost any variety of cookie, cake, or pie (or cake or cookie dough) has been worked into ice cream. Contemporary ice cream parlors infuse their offerings with green tea, exotic tropical fruit juices, even beer. The more adventurous (or those with more adventurous customers) produce ice cream flavored with anchovies, mustard, and garlic.
Major commercial producers like Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, and Häagen-Dazs and their competitors, meanwhile, have teams working non-stop to develop new and unusual — though not necessarily anchovy-level — flavors to entice their customers. At the same time, these companies retire many of their earlier creations, due to disappointing sales or changing corporate strategies or sometimes just in an effort to keep their product line fresh. Ben & Jerry’s even has an actual Flavor Graveyard, a park-like setting with headstones commemorating their “dearly de-pinted” ice creams.
Some discontinued ice cream flavors, though, are just too good to bury. Summoning up fond memories of discontinued frozen treats, 24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of ice cream flavors we miss, from eight major producers — flavors we wish would come back. There are some treats still alive — these are the most iconic frozen treats in each state.
Baskin-Robbins Apple Pie À la Mode
Vanilla ice cream with real apples, crumbled crunchy crust, and a swirl of cinnamon-flavored caramel, this homey treat, created in 2006, now resides in the company’s “Deep Freeze” of retired flavors.
Baskin-Robbins Campfire S’mores
Another denizen of the Baskin-Robbins Deep Freeze, dating from 2002, this nostalgia-inducing creation combined chocolate ice cream, toasted-marshmallow mousse, chocolate flakes, and shards of graham cracker.
Baskin-Robbins Miami Ice Sorbet
Launched in 1986 as a promotional tie-in with the TV show “Miami Vice,” this was a cool, tropical sorbet made with a purée of limes and lime juice mixed with pink grapefruit ice — tart and tasty, but now consigned to the Deep Freeze and just as forgotten as the drama it was based on. (Just to confuse things, Baskin-Robbins subsequently added in a sorbet called Miami Vice, which combined strawberry and piña colada flavors — not the same thing at all.)
Ben & Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide
This agreeable concoction of Irish Cream liqueur ice cream bulked up with crumbled chocolate-chocolate chip cookies and a swirl of coffee fudge appeared in limited quantities in 2004, then had a regular run from 2005 through 2012.
Ben & Jerry’s Fresh Georgia Peach
One of the least gimmicky, most straightforward Ben & Jerry’s flavors ever, this glorious summery ice cream endured from 1986 through 1991. The epitaph on its headstone in the Flavor Graveyard reads “Fresh-picked peaches / trucked from Georgia / Tasted great but couldn’t last / ‘Cuz Georgia’s quite a-ways away / & trucks don’t go that fast.”
Ben & Jerry’s Peanuts! Popcorn!
This unlikely sounding mix of white-fudge-covered caramel popcorn, toffee-coated peanuts, and a caramel swirl, stirred up with caramel ice cream, was surprisingly delicious but might well have been a little too tooth-achingly sweet for most ice-cream-lovers and only lasted one year, 2000.
Ben & Jerry’s Wavy Gravy
A tribute to the Woodstock-era legend of the same name (born Hugh Romney) — a character once described as “a positively ill classic hippy flower geezer icon” — this appropriately nutty caramel, cashew, and Brazil nut ice cream enhanced with roasted almonds and a chocolate hazelnut fudge swirl was in the Ben & Jerry’s repertoire from 1993 through 2001.
Ben & Jerry’s Wild Maine Blueberry
Anyone who’s ever tasted wild Maine blueberries knows that they’re on a different level altogether than the conventional supermarket variety. For a glorious year or so, in 1992 and ’93, Ben & Jerry’s somehow managed to translate their flavors into this irresistible ice cream.
Blue Bunny Red Carpet Red Velvet Cake
This riff on the popular red-hued red velvet chocolate layer cake was introduced in 2011 and originally co-branded with “Ace of Cakes” star Duff Goldman. It involved red-velvet-cake-flavored ice cream into which were mixed pieces of the actual cake and ribbons of cream cheese frosting — a delight for anyone who likes the cake itself, but unfortunately now retired.
Dreyers/Edy’s Chocolate Malt Frozen Custard
This very thick and creamy frozen custard flavored with cocoa and malt extract was in stores only in 2015 and 2016. It was reminiscent of an old-style malted milkshake, rich and satisfying. The company — whose products are labeled Dreyer’s in the western U.S. and Edy’s elsewhere — subsequently discontinued its whole frozen custard line.
Häagen-Dazs Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet
This tart, intensely fruity sorbet, based on blackberries and cabernet sauvignon grapes, was introduced in 2011. It may have been too bold and tangy for general audiences, and unfortunately has been discontinued.
Häagen-Dazs Crème Brûlée
Crema catalana is the Spanish version of France’s crème brûlée, a dense custard with a hard caramelized sugar topping, and a Catalan chef invented crema catalana ice cream circa 1974. Häagen-Dazs came up with its own version — creamy custard ice cream with caramel swirls — sometime later, but it was retired in 2016 and is now consigned to the company’s list of “Sweet Memories.”
Häagen-Dazs Peanut Butter Salted Fudge
This presentation of peanut butter ice cream laden with bits of salted fudge and chocolate-covered peanuts was almost — but not quite — too much of a good thing. It was released in 2017, but unfortunately the company has since consigned it to its Sweet Memories department.
Häagen-Dazs Tres Leches Brigadeiro
A 2015 release in the company’s Artisan Collection series, this was an elaboration of its tres leches ice cream (based on Latin America’s popular tres leches cake, made with evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream). Brigadeiros are Brazilian confections of condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter — and this ice cream emulated them with swirls of cocoa sauce and sweetened condensed milk. Any fan of intense caramel flavors would have loved this ice cream.
Häagen-Dazs Vanilla, Tangerine & Shortbread
A short-lived entry in the Häagen-Dazs Destination Series, made with vanilla ice cream, crumbled shortbread cookies, and ribbons of tangerine curd, this refreshing, buttery, sweet-tart frozen treat was rolled out in 2016. It was said to evoke teatime in the U.K., though neither ice cream nor tangerines are typical teatime fare — but when something tastes this good, who’s going to nit-pick?
Starbucks Java Chip
When Starbucks got out of the supermarket ice cream business in 2013 after 17 years, the disappearance of this simple but delicious confection of coffee ice cream with chocolate chunks was the most bemoaned by fans.
Talenti Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Gelato
Introduced in 2015 and retired several years later, this rich gelato mixed real oatmeal cookie pieces, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins into vanilla ice cream. Serving it, Talenti’s website promised, “will quickly launch you into Figurative World’s Best Grandma status.” That possibility may have deterred some purchasers. Their loss.
Turkey Hill Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Pennsylvania-based Turkey Hill Dairy sold this vanilla ice cream full of strawberries and stewed rhubarb — a classic summer pie combination — from 1996 through 2001. It was a finalist in the company’s Ultimate Flavor Tournament, which asked ice cream lovers to choose one retired flavor to bring back — but it lost to Caramel Brownie Overload.
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