Oyster ice cream

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Oyster ice cream is a flavour of ice cream. Its existence has been attested since 1842.[1] Described as having a savoury taste, the ice cream flavour has been offered at a number of oyster festivals.


It was previously thought that eating oysters and ice cream together would be no good for one's health; some investigators in the 1930s claimed that this belief was unfounded.[2] Oyster ice cream was already in existence as early as 1824, when a recipe for it was given in Mary Randolph's cookbook, The Virginia Housewife.[1] The ice cream was also supposedly the favorite flavor of Dollie Madison, and was eaten at the White House. In the past, when oyster ice cream was first introduced, it was deemed a luxury food that only the "upper classes" could indulge in, because ice was scarce and difficult to find back then.[3]

Preparation and description[edit]

According to Spanish-born chef José André, oyster ice cream is made by "gently heating oysters and cream", before freezing the product.[3] Robert Brantley, an ice cream researcher, describes oyster ice cream as "[e]ssentially [...] frozen oyster chowder [...] served [...] unsweetened".[1] Oyster ice cream is said to have a savoury taste, as opposed to a sweet one.[3]


Lorraine Eaton of The Virginian-Pilot wrote that one of her colleagues at work "had nearly thrown up" after tasting Eaton's homemade oyster ice cream; others had favorable criticism for the ice cream flavour.[4]

In popular culture and notable use[edit]

Mention of oyster ice cream is made in Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The ice cream flavour was well-liked by the author.[3] One tale, though deemed a myth, has it that oyster ice cream was "George Washington's favorite".[4] Two varieties of oyster ice cream were featured at the Colchester Oyster Festival in Colchester, Essex in September.[5] "Oyster-and-ginger" ice cream was served at the 23rd Oyster Festival in Arcata Main Street, which took place in June 2013.[6][7]

See also[edit]