I like foie gras as an hors d’oeuvre at a fancy dinner as much as the next person, but I never thought I’d eat fatty goose liver in a dessert. When I heard that Brooklyn-based OddFellows Ice Cream Co. had broken culinary convention with its new foie gras peanut cocoa caramel flavor, I dared to give the eccentric treat a try.
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Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co. making foie gras ice cream. Photo: oddfellowsnyc/Instagram
OddFellows is a collaboration between Sam Mason, a former pastry chef at the Manhattan temple of molecular gastronomy wd~50, and husband-and-wife team Mohan and Holiday Kumar. The shop opened in June, and in their first two months, the owners have released 50 unique flavor combinations. Mohan Kumar told Yahoo! Shine that Mason “is on a mission to make any and all flavor fusions he possibly can.” It may be hard to believe but foie gras flavored ice cream hardly stands out as strange among a roster of flavors like beet pistachio honey goat cheese, extra virgin olive oil, sesame kumquat pumpernickel, chorizo caramel swirl, and maple bacon pecan, to name a few.
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While the other strange batches have created some noise among ice cream fans, the foie gras flavor has foodies in a frenzy. One reviewer, Yelp user LovetoEat F., went so far as to say, “OMG! There is no way to describe the genius in this ice cream’s development. In my life I’ve never tasted ice cream so wonderful.” Kumar agrees. “The peanut-cocoa-y taste and the foie blend for a well-balanced flavor profile. To me, that’s my favorite flavor I’ve ever had,” he said.
Part of OddFellows’ secret menu (which you can learn more about on its Twitter feed), the foie flavor sells for a brain freezing $5.50 pre scoop (the average retail price per scoop is $2) and is hawked only in-house. The company makes a very limited batch of its premium flavors, and the first batch of foie gras sold out in two days. The second was expected to be gone in the same amount of time—sometime Tuesday afternoon. Trying to beat the bottom of the bucket, I sped off to Williamsburg to taste-test what all the hype is about.
Presentation of foie gras ice cream. Photo: Lauren Tuck
First, to counterbalance the steep cost of one scoop, the presentation is superb. The ice cream sits in a glass bowl on a wooden plate and is paired with a homemade blueberry soda. Next, the moment of truth: The first bite … is surprisingly good! The peanut and caramel overwhelm the foie gras aroma so you don’t really know that you’re eating liver until you consciously think about it. Whether it’s the fat from the meat or the stickiness of the caramel, the consistency of the concoction is reminiscent of marshmallow fluff (maybe not what they were going for, or were they?). The ice cream is superrich and decadent, and although I was initially disappointed that I couldn’t order a traditional triple scoop in a waffle cone, I soon realized the professionals know my palate and stomach better than I do because I could barely finish my small serving. The peanut chunks add a little texture to the gooeyness, and the saltiness makes you ache for another glass of the lovely paired blueberry soda.
OddFellows isn’t the first shop to put duck or goose liver in dessert. Ice creamery Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco made a version for ginger-snap ice cream sandwiches before a state law that banned producing or selling foie gras went into effect on July 1, 2012. Fatty goose or duck liver is divisive because the animals are force-fed to cause their livers to bloat up with fat to 10 times their normal size. Despite the debates, from doughnuts and macarons to cheesecakes and milkshakes, adventurous chefs have attempted to add the controversial ingredient to all kinds of trendy dishes around the world.
Overall, I give the OddFellows foie gras peanut cocoa caramel flavor a B. It was wonderfully wacky, but I’d rather stick with Rocky Road.