Food & Nutrition

10 Fascinating Ice Cream Traditions Around the World

Find out how other countries enjoy everyone’s favorite frozen dairy treat.

New Zealand: Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

Fascinating-Ice-Cream-Traditions-Around-the-WorldRimma Bondarenko/shutterstock

While you reveal a lot about yourself when you order ice cream, you mostly say that you love fun when ordering New Zealand favorite, Hokey Pokey. Krista Canfield McNish, founder of FoodWaterShoes, an international food site, says that the blend can vary, depending on which shop you visit, but mostly it means plain vanilla ice cream mixed with generous heaps of honeycomb toffee. The outcome is a super rich, creamy ice cream—and it’s delicious, says McNish. It’s popular throughout the North and South islands of New Zealand and even available at grocery stores, with a leading brand called Tip Top’s Hokey Pokey. Find out the best ice-cream shop in every American state.

Japan: Mochi


As long as you’re not hung up on texture, you probably will love giving mochi ice cream a swirl when you visit Japan. Available in nearly every city—small and large—you might mistake these small circular rounds of ice cream as macaroons at first glance. Ice cream is shaped into bite-size circles and pounded rice paste is wrapped around to keep it from melting. Coming in at just around 100 calories a pop, you probably will want to try at least a handful before heading toward more sightseeing. Or, if you can’t make it to Japan, mochi has made it’s way to the United States with brands like My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream available in many nationwide grocery stores.


Fascinating-Ice-Cream-Traditions-Around-the-WorldRobert Kneschke/shutterstock

Nope, this ice cream tradition isn’t from Italy, even though it looks like it. Instead, this is a dish you can order throughout Germany. Pastry chefs work to make an ice cream sundae mimic a traditional bowl of spaghetti you can have for dessert rather than dinner. How do they pull this feat off? Vanilla ice cream stands in for noodles, strawberry puree for the marinara, and coconut flakes for the parmesan cheese. And while this wacky dish was created on purpose, you won’t want to miss the 13 foods that were created on accident.

Spain: Fun-Shaped Ice Cream

Fascinating-Ice-Cream-Traditions-Around-the-WorldBarbara Neveu/shutterstock

Ice cream in the States tends to be shaped by the ubiquitous ice cream scoop—the round mound we’re so familiar with. While an ice cream scoop can be put to many other creative uses in the kitchen, in Spain they dispense with it altogether. According to McNish, you can wander down a grocery aisle in any major Spanish city—from Madrid to Barcelona—and you’ll likely find Frigo, a brand of ice cream which presents the favorite in a variety of quirky shapes, from rocket ships to pies. For more of a gourmet experience, head to Madrid where you can visit Rocambolesc Gelateria. “They make an absolutely insane coconut and violet sorbet that you can top with a cloud of cotton candy and star shaped sprinkles. Rocambolesc even offers a cherry strawberry flavored arbutus bear, which is Madrid’s fuzzy mascot, shaped popsicle as well as funky popsicles flavors, like Girona apple and blood orange plus mango sorbet, in wonky shapes like noses and fingers,” she says. Here’s what your favorite ice-cream flavor says about your personality.

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