Savory ice creams have been around for some time now, but none quite as hot as the Ghost Pepper Ice Cream. This bad boy is so spicy that you actually have to sign a legal waiver before attempting to eat it.
The frozen treat is available at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It’s basically a vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce streaks, but it’s also infused with some of the world’s hottest chillies and capsicum sauces. These chillies are so hot that villagers in India actually smear sauce made from them on fence posts to keep elephants away!
According to Delaware Online, the first mouthful tastes of a “deep, rich, creamy vanilla with a hint of sweetness,” but that’s quickly followed by “a Mike Tyson worthy wallop of mouth-searing heat.” The paper warns people to “be prepared for a loitering burn that outstays its welcome.”
Photo: Briefcase Speakers/Twitter
Chip Hearn, the brains behind the fiery flavor, said that he doesn’t really expect anyone to order a Ghost Pepper Ice Cream cone or milkshake. It’s only meant to be a publicity stunt, to get people curious into coming into the shop for a taste. And, in case someone is crazy enough to try it, they’re bound to order some regular ice cream afterwards, to put out the fire in their mouth.
Ice Cream Store employees hand out at least 200 free samples of the Ghost Pepper each week. “They’re tasting it and they’re talking about it,” Hearn declared. “That’s the game.”
In fact, Hearn isn’t new to introducing new, eyebrow-raising flavors. In the past, he’s added Zombie, Cereal Killer, and Pop Rocks flavors, all of which have been major crowd pullers. But peppers are Hearn’s specialty, since he also runs a hot sauce store called Peppers.
Photo: Patricia Talorico/The News Journal
Hearn revealed that spicy ice creams have become increasingly popular in the past few years. The ‘Aztec chocolate’ – a vanilla ice cream flavored with Hershey’s chocolate syrup, cinnamon, paprika, dark chocolate flakes, and bacon bits marinated in a ghost pepper hot sauce – seems to be doing pretty well this summer. Another popular option is ‘Stifler’s Mom’, named after a character from the movie American Pie. It’s a brown ‘shugah’ vanilla ice cream with cayenne pepper, candied pecans and caramel ribbons.
But none of these options are quite as hot as the Ghost Pepper – the mother of all spicy ice creams. Introduced in 2012 as a marketing gimmick, eating one requires you to sign a waiver that is “legal, but done in a smart ass way.”
Kids under 18 and adults over 65 need written consent from a parent, legal guardian or doctor before tasting the ‘dangerously hot’ ice cream. Intoxicated and impaired people aren’t allowed to taste it, nor are pregnant women, lactating mothers, men with erectile dysfunction, or anyone with serious ailments. Everyone else needs to sign the waiver, which explicitly states: “It should be noted that what is painful going in may also be painful during exit!”
Photo: KYLE GRANTHAM/THE NEWS JOURNAL
And that’s actually no joke. Delaware Online reports that even Tabasco sauce – which scores 2,500 to 5,000 units on the Scoville heat scale – is mild when compared with Ghost Pepper. The chili used in the ice cream, known as Bhut Jolokia or Naga Jolokia, scores a whopping 1 million Scoville units! It used to be considered the world’s hottest pepper before being dethroned by the Dorset Naga, with a score of 1.6 million units.
Ghost Pepper Ice Cream is actually made by Woodside Farm Creamery, in Hockessin, Delaware. Hearn orders batches of 10 gallons each from the owner, Jim Mitchell. “Jim hates to make it,” he said. “He has to clean the machine three times after making it.”
Naturally, an ice cream so hot is bound to be the subject of horror stories, and the employees of The Ice Cream Shop have plenty to share. One guy vomited on the spot after eating only a spoonful, while another allegedly couldn’t stop coughing for 10 minutes straight. Even the toughest of men, who claim to be able to handle anything, have been reduced to tears after one mouthful. The staff are always ready for some firefighting with spoonfuls of plain vanilla ice cream and giant squirts of whipped cream. Even then, it takes time for the taste buds to stop protesting!
Not everyone reacts as badly, though. Russ Goffred, a tourist from New York, didn’t seem to feel much heat. “It’s not that bad,” he said. “I was expecting worse. I like the hot stuff and I like ice cream, so it was a good mix.”
If you’re ever in Delaware, the Ghost Pepper Ice Cream should definitely be on your must-try list. Or not. Probably not…