Sugar Rush: Vampire's Delight at SweetCup Gelato

How do grown-up sweet lovers celebrate Halloween? With a garlic-flavored dessert.

By Alice Levitt October 25, 2016

Img 0004 rhzccb

There's no question what flavors Vampire's Delight.

Image: Alice Levitt

As with any myth whose history spans many hundreds of years, there's some debate regarding the origins of garlic's role as a vampire repellent. Some folklorists believe that the rare group of diseases known as porphyria helped generate fear against sun-sensitive individuals who only came out at night. The illness was not uncommon among inbred European nobles, whose other symptoms included longer-than-average eye teeth (fangs) and sensitivity to alliums like garlic. Others think that the use of garlic as a folk remedy against mosquito bites simply extended to staving off vampire bites. In Romania, spiritual home of vampire lore, villagers often augmented their already garlic-heavy diet by smearing doors, windows and anything else through which a strigoi might enter with yet more bulbs. Others rubbed a garlic mixture on the corpse itself to ensure it didn't wake up craving blood.

It's likely that Jasmine Chida and her crew at SweetCup Gelato were not thinking of any of these applications when they conceived of their Halloween flavor, Vampire's Delight. Presumably, in fact, the name is to trick vampires into eating the garlic-flavored ice cream, thereby killing them. Clever. 

Img 0005 to9ejn

A small, three flavor cup that includes no garlic-flavored gelato.

Image: Alice Levitt

The undead and I may share a common complexion, but my eye teeth are quite short from the wear of hundreds of bulgogi meals, so I felt safe sampling the flavor. In fact, I've been obsessing over the idea for years, fantasizing about trips to California's Gilroy Garlic Festival or the Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival, both of which market ice cream as a highlight. Either probably would have been deflating.

What does garlic ice cream taste like? Pretty much like garlic—first the sharp tang, then the sulfuric funk that causes garlic breath, all bound together with sweet cream. I didn't dislike it, per se, but I also didn't feel the need to eat more of it than the sample spoon I tried. Perhaps I'm a vampire after all, but I was far happier cleansing my palate with pomegranate-rose sorbet, then following up with beet-and-honey and banana stracciatella than I would have been polishing off a cup of Vampire's Delight. Still, I'm glad it's there, both for the sakes of novelty and protection.

Want more food news, plus editors' picks in every neighborhood, advanced search options, and all of our best-of lists? Download our new Gastronaut app, available now for iPhone and Android.

Show Comments