Explained: What is Blue Moon Ice Cream?


The ice cream with a cult following | Photo by 608today team

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There are two types of people when it comes to blue moon ice cream: those who get it and those who don’t. And Wisconsinites certainly “get it.”

The Smurf-looking dessert is Wisconsin’s most iconic flavor, so whatever camp you fall into, you can at least taste what we’re talking about. But what actually is the iconic flavor?

History of the cult dessert

The Midwestern summer treat has several theory origins, but a popular one starts in 1950s Milwaukee. The Petran Products company holds the trademark on the recipe + the origin is credited to the chief flavor chemist at the time, Bill “Doc” Sidon. While the creation theory isn’t totally soundproof, the modern Blue Moon flavor might be Sidon’s perfecting.

Other theories to explore: the beaver musk additive + Michigan’s role in the ice cream.


Some many flavors, so little time. | Photo by 608today team

So, what makes it “blue?”

The blue part is easy — that’s food coloring. The million-dollar question is: what flavor is the ice cream? Any true connoisseur will tell you that each creamery’s version is slightly different in taste and color. Many take on vanilla or berry flavor notes, while others claim it tastes like almond extract or cotton candy. But keeping the recipe top-secret also adds to the mysticism.

In fact, many ice cream shops might not know what gives the ice cream its distinctive flavor. TIL that there are manufacturers who produce the flavors to distribute to ice cream stores, who then add them to the dairy product, keeping the secret ingredient hidden behind several doors.

Your turn to be the judge

Try it locally at Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream or The Daily Scoop at Memorial Union. The Atwood Scoop has a version of the treat with cookie dough, dubbed “playdough.” The flavor is really only found in the upper Midwest — Michigan and Wisconsin. We’re all ears for what you think is going in Blue Moon ice cream.

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