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I tried Salt & Straw's ice cream line inspired by this year's viral moments

They tasted as weird as this year felt
By Elena Cavender  on 
The 5 ice creams
The five flavors are "Billionaire Boys Space Club," "#FreeBritney," "Calamari Contest," "Non-Fungible-Tropical Tuna Tamales," and "Nature's Cereal." Credit: Salt & Straw

What do viral trends taste like? Salt & Straw has boldly asked this question with the release of their limited-edition pack of ice cream flavors called "2021 Gone Viral."

The Portland-based handmade ice cream company released five flavors inspired by 2021 viral trends on Wednesday. Salt & Straw believes that ice cream can be a form of storytelling, and this exclusive pack puts that ethos to the test. Consisting of five unique flavors, "2021 Gone Viral" brings these inescapable moments to life through flavors like "Billionaire Boys Space Club," "#FreeBritney," "Calamari Contest," "Non-Fungible-Tropical Tuna Tamales," and "Nature's Cereal."

2021 Gone Viral pack on a table with covers off
Salt & Straw's 2021 Gone Viral limited edition pack in all its glory. Credit: Elena Cavender

These flavors are as weird as 2021, and I sampled all of them.

Billionaire Boys Space Club

Soylent pudding w/ charcoal ice cream & white chocolate-covered astronaut ice cream chunks

Billionaire Boys Space Club ice cream in a glass
An intergalactic flavor. Credit: Elena Cavender

This flavor was inspired by billionaires going to space. I thought the concept of billionaires going to space would taste really rich, feature expensive ingredients, and taste good because someone told you it would taste good, but Billionaire Boys Space Club ended up being the most interesting flavor of the pack.

The ice cream manages to look like outer space. It's dark grey and the freeze-dried ice cream hunks and white Soylent pudding look like craters and stars in the dark sky. Don't let the Soylent fool you, this flavor is delicious. The ice cream is buttery with a strong sesame flavor that's balanced out by the freeze-dried ice cream hunks. It's a more mature rocky road.


Pink bubble gum ice cream, tons of edible glitter, w/ Pepsi & Champagne gummy bears

#FreeBritney ice cream in a pint
A flavor so pretty it deserves two photos. Credit: Elena Cavender
#FreeBritney ice cream in a glass
Credit: Elena Cavender

This flavor is a celebration of Britney Spears conservatorship ending, and according to Salt & Straw, that tastes like the best bubblegum ice cream you've ever had, and I can't help but agree.

#FreeBritney is a proper celebratory flavor. It's Pepto Bismol pink and features a splattering of different shades of blue sprinkles. The ice cream is the delicate bubblegum flavor. It isn't too in your face or sickly sweet which is rarely accomplished. While the gummies added some texture, I didn't care for the flavor and would have preferred uninterrupted spoonfuls of pink goodness.

Calamari Contest

Dalgona honeycomb, teal and pink tracksuit ice cream, bone marrow fudge

Calamari Content ice cream in a glass
So vibrant it looks inedible. Credit: Elena Cavender

Inspired by the internet craze surrounding Squid Game, this ice cream is a shocking teal and pink, so vibrant that it resembles Play-Doh. This flavor is weird, in the best way. I couldn't put my finger on the ice cream's exact flavor and the ingredient list wasn't much help. The undefined ice cream flavor allows the dalgona honeycomb to really shine. The Dalgona honeycomb is the best part and melts in your mouth and sticks to your teeth. The bone marrow fudge was super salty which complicated the flavor profile, but left a bad taste in my mouth.

Non-Fungible-Tropical Tuna Tamales

Roasted pineapple compote & prickly pear (aka "tuna") clear caramel, masa ice cream

Non-Fungible-Tropical Tuna Tamales ice cream in a glass
Just like NFTs this flavor is not for me! Credit: Elena Cavender

This flavor is an ode to NFTs, so it should come as no surprise that I didn't like it. I expected an NFT-inspired flavor too either be doing too much or extremely underwhelming. Salt & Straw did the former. This flavor was so overpowering that I spit out my first bite. The roasted pineapple flavor was overwhelming and combined with the prickly pear it tasted soapy. The masa ice cream itself was understated and quite yummy, but I couldn't get behind the ice cream as a whole.

Nature's Cereal

Coconut water sorbet + pomegranate seeds + mixed berry jam

Nature's Cereal ice cream in a glass
It wouldn't be 2021 viral trends without a homage to TikTok. Credit: Elena Cavender

Nature's Cereal was a viral TikTok recipe popularized by Lizzo that consisted of fresh fruit and coconut water. I was looking forward to this flavor the most. I never dipped my toe in the TikTok trend, but berries never disappoint. The sorbet was light, tangy, and tasted vaguely like a popsicle. The pomegranate seeds added some crunch, but were awkward to eat with the ice cream.

All these flavors are available for a limited time at Salt & Straw.

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