Have you ever had blue moon ice cream? I have not, and when other Chicagoans discover this fact about me, they react with a level of disgust that lets me know they think I'm a disgrace to my Midwestern upbringing. Apparently everyone (and I do mean everyone) who spent their formative years in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois has sweet nostalgic memories of the smurf-blue dessert. Everyone but me, that is.
It's not that I'm opposed to bright blue foods. Quite the opposite, in fact. (I used to request blue frosting on all my birthday cakes, just to gross my grandmother out). It's just that I already had an established favorite at the ice cream parlor, and was rarely swayed to try anything other than mint chocolate chip. (IT'S GREEN, PEOPLE! ISN'T THAT JUST AS NOVEL AS BLUE?!).
Plus, as eye-catching as it was to spot blue moon in the ice cream case, the name didn't exactly make my mouth water. With flavors like cookie dough, cake batter, and chocolate peanut butter, you know exactly what you're going to get. But what flavor is blue moon ice cream? Moon flavor? Sad moon flavor? Is ice cream supposed to make me this depressed?
Here, at least, I have something in common with the blue moon-hungry masses: no one, it seems, can agree on exactly what flavor blue moon is supposed to be. The Chicago Tribune described it as "marshmallowy-sweet", while others swear the primary flavor is almond extract. Most, however, think it has more fruity notes and compare it to childhood cereals. Some say it tastes just like Fruity Pebbles, while others insists it is far more akin to Froot Loops. Those with the subtlest palates will correct these well-meaning dolts by explaining that the flavor is actually more comparable to the milk that's left over after you finish a bowl of Froot Loops, not like the cereal itself.
Some folks have said that blue moon ice cream makes up the blue component of superman ice cream, another flavor popular in the Midwest. Now, while I've never tasted blue moon on its own, I have eaten my fair share of superman scoops, and I have to say, I don't remember tasting any Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, OR almond during that experience. (Side note: I sorta suspect superman ice cream is just vanilla with a heck of a lot of food coloring. Come at me.)
Hoping for more insight, I turned to the Sherman's Ice Cream website. Sherman's, a company based out of South Haven Michigan, is credited with, if not outright inventing the flavor, then at least popularizing it throughout much of the Midwest. So I figured the folks there were experts on the stuff. Here's how they described their blue moon:
"Tutti-frutti flavored ice cream."
That's it. NOT HELPFUL, GUYS!
Here's a list of flavors that people on the internet have associated with blue moon ice cream:
As a final resort, I turned to the only folks I really trust to give me an honest answer about what blue moon ice cream tastes like: my co-workers. Here's what my fellow-editor, Colleen had to say:
"People will tell you that blue moon tastes like Fruit Loops. Those people are dead wrong. If there was a clear flavor—and there really isn't—it would be almond extract. But trying to figure out what blue moon tastes like is like trying to figure out why Mona Lisa smiles or why Rex Grossman is a Super Bowl quarterback. It's futile."
When your coworker compares an ice cream flavor to Rex Grossman, you know it's time to call it a day. Clearly, I'm just going to have a bite the bullet and try this stuff for myself. You know, for research.