Guilty Pleasures

We Tried Scooptacular’s Turkey-Flavored Ice Cream – And It Was Delightful

The Guilty Pleasure: Tryptophan, a.k.a turkey-flavored ice cream
Where to Get It: Scooptacular
Price: $1.50 (kid’s size)
What it Really Costs: The last ounce of your waning willpower, which will effectively go into winter hibernation, starting this week.

Every year around this time, Scooptacular treats — is treat the right word? – ice cream lovers with a small batch of Thanksgiving-inspired ice cream flavors. Over the weekend, the local ice cream shop released its much-anticipated turkey-flavored ice cream, which is now available at both the original Laveen shop and its new Gilbert location.

If you’re familiar with Scooptacular’s turkey ice cream, then you already know it’s not just a cutesy name designed to push autumnal-hued flavors like salted caramel. Nope, this is real thing: Thanksgiving dinner piled onto a cake cone.

To make the ice cream, the shop cooks a whole turkey, then soaks the carcass in its homemade cream-and-sugar base. Small chunks of the cooked bird are stirred into the mix for, you know, texture.

The turkey ice cream, labeled under the code name Tryptophan (a whimsical reference to L-tryptophan, the essential amino acid found in turkey and other poultry), looks harmless enough behind the counter. A casual observer might confuse the strangely-named flavor for, say, vanilla or butter pecan. But upon closer inspection, you’ll realize that those chunky mix-ins are definitely not nuts.

What does it taste like? We were warned by one of the shop's polite servers that the turkey flavor in the current batch might be “too strong.” But the cone turned out to be surprisingly edible. Scooptacular is known for its high quality, homemade ice creams, and this one was no different: creamy and rich, with distinctive top notes of roasted turkey.

The turkey-flavored ice cream works, in the way that mango and chili, or peanut brittle, works. The sweet-and-savory, ying-and-yang combo is strangely satisfying - all your sugar and salt cravings wrapped up in one creamy confection.

But if you’re not quite ready to try Scooptacular’s turkey ice cream, you may still want to sample the shop’s more conventional seasonal flavors. This year, you’ll find sweet corn, pumpkin, and sweet potato pie behind the counter. The sweet potato pie might be the best of this bunch, an unabashedly rich, sugar-and-spice ice cream that is a worthy alternative to pie.

But we bet you’ll go to Scooptacular for the turkey ice cream. Because, even if you hate turkey, it’s too much fun to pass up. Plus, it’s kind of fun to watch the pained expressions on your friends’ faces when you tell them you just inhaled a turkey-flavored ice cream cone.

Sccoptacular’s turkey-flavored ice cream, plus other seasonal flavors, are available in limited quantities now. For more information visit the Scooptacular website.

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Patricia Escárcega was Phoenix New Times' food critic.

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