taste test

Is This New Cheese Ice Cream Any Good?

Photo: Melissa Hom

It only took three words to leave the internet aghast late last week: Cheese. Ice. Cream. Starting today, New York’s own OddFellows ice cream and Murray’s Cheese have joined forces to give the city exactly that. Until Sunday, all five OddFellows locations will sell $5 scoops made with Murray’s Cavemaster Reserve Annelies, a cows’-milk cheese that hails from Switzerland’s Appenzell Valley before aging for two years in Murray’s caves. The cheese in question is not some junior-varsity ricotta clone, in other words.

If that sounds weird, that’s because it is. But is it good weird, or just weird weird? That’s the question Grub Street set out to answer when it swung by OddFellows yesterday for a quick taste. Here’s what you need to know:

Trust us, this stuff really tastes like cheese.
One of Grub’s chief complaints during a recent pickle soft-serve taste test was that it didn’t taste enough like pickles. That is not a problem for the Annelies cheese ice cream. The official line on the cheese is that it’s filled with “sweet flavors of roasted hazelnuts and vibrant alpine grasses, with lush undertones of butterscotch and cocoa,” but the reality of this ice cream is that it tastes like grass and herbs and a musty European basement, or a nice pecorino.

And yet, it still somehow tastes like ice cream.
After those jarring first licks, the cheesiness mellows out and the ice cream tastes more like sweet sour cream. If you’ve ever had blue cheese on buttered bread, you know that mild dairy can tame cheese’s wilder flavors, and this ice cream is no exception to that rule. It is also proof that ice cream is basically always good.

But you should get some toppings.
After trying the ice cream straight, it was time to add some toppings. First up: blueberry syrup, figuring it would mimic the fruit jams served on cheese platters. While tasty, the blueberry syrup was more of a cover-up than a companion. The strongest move was adding spiced almonds; a little salty crunch helped the experience without diminishing it.

And still, this ice cream will give you lots of feelings.
The best thing Grub can say about the Annelies ice cream is that we learned so much about ourselves on this journey. Like many of OddFellows’s more outré flavors — manchego, pineapple, and thyme; Malt Maitake Peanut; scallion(?!) — the Annelies ice cream is impressive, even if it isn’t necessarily “delicious” in the traditional sense of “tasting good.” But that’s the beauty of it. Who says ice cream always has to be safe? It would be so boring if everyone just stuck to salted caramel or whatever. So Grub says go give it a shot. You’ll get to try something truly new, and you can always order another cone afterward.

Is This New Cheese Ice Cream Any Good?