Some new autumn flavors fall pretty far from the tree at the artisan ice cream shop Salt & Straw. Both the Fillmore Street and Hayes Valley locations of the Portland-based small-batch gourmet creamery are now selling Thanksgiving flavors that might get ice cream Puritans’ breeches in a bunch — turkey ice cream, and mashed potato ice cream.
Their proper names are Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey and Buttered Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, and these seasonal ice creams are part of Salt & Straw’s Thanksgiving parade of new flavors that also includes Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans, Persimmon Walnut Stuffing, and Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkin Pie. Those three are fairly standard craft ice cream innovations. But are turkey and mashed potato-flavored ice creams worth feasting upon, or will they leave cornu-copious amounts of untouched leftovers?
While the Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey sounds like a sweet and savory combination, in reality the recipe doubles down on just sweet. “We cook turkey stock mixed with sugar, spices and onions down until it bubbles into a caramel,” says Salt & Straw’s seasonal menu. “And we also roast turkey skin until it’s crispy and then candy-coat it and mix bits of that in, too.”
The result is sort of a combination of duck fat and butter toffee taste with a deep sweetness that does not disappoint. Ingredients like rosemary and thyme deliver a subtle flavor boost, and SF Weekly put away a whole pint in one sitting. We then promptly passed out for three hours.
The Buttered Mashed Potatoes & Gravy ice cream is more of a mixed bag, and that’s on purpose. It’s an intentionally savory ice cream flavor with very buttery accents and prominent chunks of potato. You’ll love it if you’re a sucker for savory, but this ice cream critic found the potatoes to lend a bland aftertaste that canceled out many of more delicious aspects.
The unconventional flavors are all worth trying, even for the steep price of $11 per pint. But that $11 technically buys two pints. For every pint you buy, Salt & Straw donates another pint to Food Runners, who have been feeding San Francisco hungriest families for more than 30 years.