Sea Salt Ice Cream: Summer’s ‘Salted Caramel’

Video games often give us the ability to temporarily escape reality and enter a universe where almost anything is possible. We can create characters and live in fantasy realms that allow us to explore different cultures and worlds. “Kingdom Hearts,” released in 2002,  is a popular video game franchise made available in a variety of versions across several video game consoles over the last 16 years. In “Kingdom Hearts II,” sea salt ice cream made its debut.

Wait, sea salt? And ice cream? Together?

The flavor had us boggled as well. With last year’s salted caramel trend, perhaps the sweet and salty combo isn’t so strange after all. “If you’ve never imagined a ‘savory’ ice cream, you haven’t tried sea salt ice cream,” said Jessica Marino, avid sea salt ice cream fan. The ice cream flavor is used as a motif in the game to signify friendships deepening, and several characters can be seen eating the tasty treat throughout. But where did it originate?

While made popular through “Kingdom Hearts II,” Tetsuya Nomura, the game’s creator, shared insight about the flavor’s true origin during a 2012 interview with Kingdom Hearts Insider. “When the Tokyo DisneySea opened and I went there by invitation, they were selling sea salt ice creams,” he said. “You would think a ‘salty ice cream’ seems pretty weird, right? I was like ‘what is this?’ so I tried it and it turned out to be very tasty.”

Part of his inspiration to include it in the game had to do with Nomura wondering what someone like Roxas (one of the series’ main characters) would snack on over summer break, where the storyline of “Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days” primarily takes place. That combined with Nomura’s own childhood nostalgia of what summer represents led to the appearance of sea salt ice cream.

For years people wondered what this ice cream could taste like, but it hadn’t been produced outside of Japan’s niche location. Users on popular forums like khinsider.com discuss their attempts to simulate the savory ice cream in homemade recipes, and many like username “Et Cetera,” describe its flavor as “vanilla ice cream that sometimes is a little salty.” But, one of the most widely known recipes was created and posted by YouTube channel Feast of Fiction in 2012. 

Using fairly simple ingredientsand with no actual ice cream maker neededthe recipe allows for this savory summer snack to be recreated with ease. Since it allows for you to add as much or as little salt as you’d like, you have the option of making it taste more sweet or savory. Either way, we guarantee it’ll be unlike anything your taste buds have experienced.

Whether you’re a fan of the game or just a food junkie, sea salt ice cream is a must!

Sea Salt Ice Cream: Summer’s ‘Salted Caramel:’ Featured image photographed by Jessica Toscano