Why Do People Put Olive Oil on Ice Cream?

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When it comes to ice cream toppings, there are so many options to choose from. We're talking rainbow sprinkles, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips ... just to name a few. But if you're looking to switch things up, it might be time to top your ice cream with an unexpected ingredient: olive oil.

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Yes, we're talking about the same oil you probably use to make vinaigrettes and fry omelets. According to fans of the pairing, the richness of olive oil pairs beautifully with the texture of ice cream. What's more, the savory notes of olive oil complement the ice cream's sweetness, resulting in a decadent dessert.

In fact, you can find olive oil as an ice cream (or gelato) topping in some Italian restaurants. Olive oil ice cream — as in, ice cream made with actual olive oil — is also a popular desert in Italy. Apparently, the olive oil creates a smooth and silky ice cream, which makes a lot of sense.

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If you usually don't pair sweet and savory flavors, the combo might sound strange. However, the trick is to use a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil that's light, floral, and fruity. This type of oil boasts an aromatic and delicate flavor, which is what works best with ice cream.

It's also a good idea to use fresh olive oil, whether or not you're eating it with ice cream. To learn more about properly storing olive oil and preventing rancidity, check out our olive oil storage guide.

Best ice cream flavors to pair with olive oil:

Technically, any type of ice cream works well with olive oil. But if you're new to the combo, consider starting with vanilla ice cream or gelato. This is a common option, as the simple sweetness of vanilla will complement the oil without overpowering it.

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