We tried the viral olive oil ice cream recipe so you don’t have to

We tried the viral olive oil ice cream recipe so you don't have to

This week, we reported on the proliferation of fake olive oil throughout Europe alongside a handy guide to tell whether your delicious oil was an imposter. Today, we can report on-the-scene of potentially an even greater crime against olive oil.

Like every brazen flouting of the Geneva Convention these days, it all started with a Tweet (post on X, sorry).

Трубочисты Петербурга

“The girlies are right. The vanilla ice cream + olive oil + salt combo does in fact eat,” X user @silknymphe wrote on 12 January. Below the line was the aforementioned scoop of ice cream, doused lightly with an oleaginous layer, seeping into the craters of the dairy treat.

Everyone rightly lost their minds. Ice cream, the standard-bearer dessert, combined with the base ingredients of a salad dressing?

People in their droves started trying it for themselves. Some loved it. Others were less convinced.

“still thinking abt this because last night i tried this using the last of my ice cream and then it was so bad but i still had to finish it because i was craving ice cream. i could cry it was so terrible,” one X user wrote.

One person added their own touch of flair but still wasn’t impressed: “Tried the olive oil on vanilla ice cream with salt..added caramel for a little razzle dazzle. I will never do this again. It wasn’t disgusting, but you can taste the olive flavor if you use extra virgin olive oil.”

My personal favourite take was this one: “i do this but instead of olive oil and salt i put chocolate syrup and sprinkles 😁”. I mean, they’re not wrong, that does sound better.

Interestingly enough, this strange savoury-sweet melange does actually have some historical background. Gelato con olio e sale, as the dish is known in Italian, has shown up in recipe books and on cooking websites for years.

While it’s hard to say where the idea originates from, a quick Google search of the Italian phrase brings about tons of recipe sites where budding chefs wax lyrical about this ode to the country’s finest culinary outputs.

It does make some sense after all. Ice cream is primarily made up of fat and sugar. Adding another complex flavoured fat to the ice cream alongside salt should feasibly bring out a dazzling flavour profile.

I had to try it for myself

Cue me dashing down to the shops during my lunch break to pick up some ice cream. I went for some Madagascan vanilla ice cream, because I’m fancy like that.

As I drizzled my extra virgin olive oil over, it coated the scoop and pooled around. Small pieces of the melting ice cream detached and floated, lost at sea, in the fatty layer. It looked wrong. I’d poured far too much. I felt like I was a multinational oil company watching an innocent seal expire following a negligent oil spill.

Desecrating dessertJonny Walfisz

A three fingered pinch of flaky salt over the top did little to assuage my guilt. At least it was only one scoop I’d ruined, I reasoned with myself, alone in the kitchen.

It was time for the taste test. I spooned a glob of my greasy ice cream into my mouth… and immediately retched. The room temperature olive oil laminated my palette as a sweet mouthful of ice cream desperately oozed through while shards of flaky salt lacerated my cheeks. What had I done?

Not content with my initial failure. I tried again, this time straining extra oil off my spoon on the side of the bowl like I would a teabag.

An honest reactionJonny Walfisz

To my surprise it didn’t taste half bad. 

The fatty oil added an extra creamy texture to the ice cream and the salt was a natural accompaniment. It was unctuous, but in the way a rich dessert should be. I laughed at how surprisingly nice it was, still alone in the kitchen.

It was good enough that I finished the bowl. I did admittedly then wash out the oily residue from the bowl and make myself another scoop of unadorned ice cream, as God intended.


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