Do you know the origins of these ice cream flavours?

Close up of a hand holding a scoop of ice cream By lovelypeace/Shutterstock

Nothing says summer vacay at the cottage like ice cream. But do you know the history behind some of the most popular—and, okay, unpopular—flavours? Here are the origin stories of seven classics.

Moose Tracks

Given its name, you’d think Moose Tracks was a Canadian creation. But in fact, it was an ice cream flavouring company in Michigan that developed the concoction (a mix of vanilla, peanut butter cups, and fudge) in 1988. The company named its invention after a nearby mini golf course—guess the employees really liked mini golf—and later licensed it to other ice cream makers.

Rocky Road

There’s some dispute about this flavour’s origin, but as at least one story goes, it was William Dreyer of California who invented rocky road in 1929, after he used his wife’s sewing shears to cut up marshmallows and walnuts, and then added them to his chocolate ice cream. (No word on whether or not his wife was annoyed about him taking the scissors.) Now most rocky road recipes use almonds, not walnuts.

Rum Raisin

This flavour has Italian roots. Folks in Sicily would stir Málaga raisins—dried muscat grapes—into vanilla gelato. The raisins, a specialty of the region, were previously soaked in booze: originally, wine, then later, rum. Mmm, sweet and alcohol-y. Flash forward to the ’70s and ’80s, when North Americanized rum raisin became popular in ice cream shops.

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Cookies ’n’ Cream

It’s cookies ’n’ awesome! But as with rocky road, there is some debate over who actually invented it. However, South Dakota State University claims that it was the university’s dairy plant manager who, in 1979, along with a pair of dairy science students, decided to stir crumbled Oreo cookies into vanilla ice cream. Best. Decision. Ever.

Pralines and Cream

This eventual fan favourite started life as a limited-time-only product from Baskin-Robbins in 1970. Irv Robbins and his wife had just returned from a trip to New Orleans, bringing home with them some souvenir pralines. (The city is famous for the candied treats.) If you’re an ice cream maker, everything spawns an idea for a new flavour. Pralines + vanilla ice cream + a ribbon of butterscotch = winner, thought Irv. Smart man.

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Tiger Tail

We have a Canadian to thank—or, maybe not thank—for creating this bizarre combo in the 1950s. Who thinks to mix black licorice with orange? (Or black licorice with anything?) Well, Morgan Carr did. And turns out, Canadians were into it.

Mint Chocolate Chip

The most polarizing of all ice cream flavours was invented in 1973 by a culinary student in England. She entered—and won—a competition to create an ice cream dessert to be served at Princess Anne’s wedding (to Captain Mark Phillips). The ice cream’s original name was Mint Royale. We assume that half of the wedding guests said that it “tasted like toothpaste.”

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