What is blue moon ice cream supposed to taste like? It depends

(NEXSTAR) — There are some ice cream flavors that are so recognizable, you hardly have to think about what the flavor actually is — vanilla is vanilla, chocolate is chocolate, mint chocolate chip is minty with a hint of chocolate. 

There are others, though, that aren’t as easy to describe. Take, for example, blue moon ice cream. While identifiable, thanks in part to its bright blue coloring, it's hard to pin down exactly what it tastes like.

Many have turned to Reddit in the past with such a question, with some suggesting the flavor is cherry, pistachio, amaretto, citrus, marshmallow, almond, bubblegum, nutmeg, the milk after a bowl of Froot Loops cereal, or just plain vanilla.

Bubblegum is made from a mix of flavors. Can you guess what they are?

Before we get into what the actual flavor of the ice cream is, we should address the potential elephant in the room: what in the world is blue moon ice cream? 

If you aren’t from the Midwest, you may not have heard of such a custard. Or maybe it’s better known as Smurf ice cream, a nod to its distinctive coloring. Despite its connections to Wisconsin, we should note that blue moon ice cream has nothing to do with Blue Moon beer.

What is blue moon ice cream’s connection to Wisconsin, you ask?

One theory behind the blue moon’s origin puts it in Milwaukee where Bill Sidon, the chief flavor chemist at Petran Products during the 1950s, is said to have invented it. However, as the Chicago Tribune previously reported, in filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Petran said the flavoring was first used in the 1930s. That’s more than a decade before Sidon is said to have joined the company. Another theory ties blue moon to South Haven, Michigan, though the company told the Tribune they order their flavoring from elsewhere.

The Tribune also found newspaper archives that reported on the debut of blue moon ice cream. In 1936, The Charleston Gazette of West Virginia covered the ice cream’s arrival, describing it as “a fruit mixture with a delightful flavor and color,” while an ad that ran in Massachusetts in 1949 called blue moon “a flavor of its own.”

So what is the flavor really? It depends on where you get it. 

Why some ice creams are sold by the ‘squround’ and some aren’t

When Cedar Crest Ice Cream, based in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, first made its own blue moon offering in the 1970s, there was no ingredient statement. That left customers to determine its flavor on their own, a spokesperson tells Nexstar. They largely agreed it tasted like Froot Loops.

Today, if you pick up a squround of blue moon ice cream from Cedar Crest Ice Cream, you’ll find it has an almond flavor. That isn't exactly the case across other ice cream brands.

Babcock Dairy Store in Madison says their blue moon is berry-flavored while Chocolate Shoppe, also in Madison, describes their blue moon ice cream as having a sweet taste “like the milk in the boom of a Froot Loops bowl.” Blue moon ice cream from Guernsey and Ashby's will be fruity (Ashby's is also "nutty").

Perry’s Ice Cream, based in Akron, New York, says their cosmic blue offering is “mystery flavor with hints of fruit, spice, and vanilla.” Hudsonville doesn’t divulge much about its blue moon ice cream, either, labeling it as “the indescribable flavor of a clear, blue sky.” The company goes on to call it “a creamy and smooth, mysterious flavor.” Kopp’s, located in Milwaukee, also doesn’t elaborate on the flavor of their blue moon, saying it “remains a secret to all (including us).”

You may also find blue moon ice cream looped in with “Superman,” “super hero” or other similarly-super ice creams. For example, Hershey’s Ice Cream (no, this isn’t part of the candy Hershey’s Company) includes blue moon in its tri-flavored Superman ice cream, and describes its blue offering simply as “fruity and fun.”

Want to make your own blue moon ice cream? This recipe seems to rely on vanilla pudding mix, raspberry flavoring, lemon oil, and vanilla extract to create the iconic but elusive blue moon flavor.

Like bubblegum, it seems blue moon’s flavor is really just blue moon — whatever that means to you.

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