“It tastes like strawberry shortcake and vanilla ice cream,” fellow rising junior Robert Gandy said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s pretty good.”
“It’s definitely something new and different,” rising senior Brittany Martin said. “I figured there would be a bunch of flavors involved.”
“Apparently people in the Big Ten like to drink a lot,” one gentleman said after I showed him a description of the new flavor:
A rich and creamy bourbon vanilla bean ice cream swirled with a raspberry and cream de cassis Melba sauce, accented with pieces of three historic, uniquely Maryland Cakes: Kossuth cake, Smith Island cake and Lord Baltimore cake, splashed with a hint of Triple Sec.
Beginning in January, a lot of thought went into the creation of the Big Ten-themed ice cream, which is made by the University of Maryland Dairy. Maryland senior associate for dining services Joe Mullineaux led a tasting committee, which also included members of the Big Ten steering committee, Maryland President Wallace D. Loh and provost Ann Wylie.
There was trial and error, according to Mullineaux. One of the committee’s early ideas was to make an ice cream with 14 different ingredients — one for each of the Big Ten’s schools. (For the record, I asked a few students on Tuesday for their own Big Ten-themed ice cream ideas and more than one of them answered with some variation of using 10 ingredients or colors.) Just as 14 schools is too many for a conference called the Big Ten, 14 ingredients was too many for the Maryland Dairy’s hand-batching process; at some point, the ingredients began forming layers instead of blending together.
There was a brilliant proposal to add chocolate-covered bacon to one of the Dairy’s more popular flavors, Fear the Turtle (white chocolate ice cream with salted pecans and a caramel swirl), but that too was nixed.
“I kind of liked it, but the committee didn’t,” Mullineaux said.
Ultimately, the committee decided to create a flavor that was uniquely Maryland.
“Everyone who tested it unanimously decided that that should be the flavor to show the Big Ten that Maryland is here,” Mullineaux said.
I told Mullineaux that I think of Maryland crab cakes before I think of Kossuth, Smith Island or Lord Baltimore cakes.
“We actually tried an Old Bay caramel,” he said. “It kind of tasted like steamed crabs sitting in milk.”
When I mentioned this rejected flavor idea to students, the reaction was mixed.
“Oh, that would’ve been good,” Martin said.
“Yeah, I would’ve loved that,” fellow rising senior and Maryland native Colleen McDowell said.
“I’m from Maryland so I love Old Bay, but I’m not sure about the Old Bay ice cream,” Gandy said.
“I feel like that would be really disgusting,” rising senior Vien Gopez said.
I wasn’t able to ask Mark Turgeon for his thoughts, but one of his players weighed in.
“Ewww, isn’t that a seasoning?” said Dez Wells, who clearly didn’t approve of the idea. “I’m allergic to shellfish, too, so they’re trying to kill me out here.”
Big Ten ice cream will be available at the Maryland Dairy in the Stamp Student Union through December. As a reader pointed out, The Charmery in Baltimore makes Old Bay Caramel ice cream. It probably tastes better than steamed crabs sitting in milk, too.