Our Green Mint Chip ice cream is all the green and chocolate crunch you remember loving as a kid—only creamier, mintier, and with earthier chocolate than you’ve ever had before. Now one of our signature flavors (meaning we make it year-round), Green Mint Chip is a flavor that we almost didn’t make at Jeni’s. Here’s why we decided to make the ice cream parlor classic and how we put our own spin on it (plus some fun history!).

Jeni used to hate mint chocolate chip.

It may come as a surprise, but Jeni has never been a fan of mint chocolate ice cream—so much so that for more than 20 years she avoided making the classic combo. In fact, she created five other mint ice creams in search of one she actually enjoyed, like salted buttermint ice cream, Savannah Buttermint, and Backyard Mint, made with a special strain of mint called Robert Mitchum peppermint.

But when Jeni began creating flavors for our American Licks collection in late 2015, she couldn’t ignore one of the most ubiquitous ice cream flavors in the history of ice cream parlors. Her mission: to make a version that she loved. By using concentrated peppermint oil for a minty flavor you can taste and smell, and crunchy chop chocolate (it has to be crunchy, she says), she now calls Green Mint Chip proof that it’s never too late to change your mind.

A little bit of science behind why we use peppermint oil.

Because ice cream contains butterfat, it absorbs scent (like peppermint essential oil) and then releases those aromas as it melts, like an edible perfume. As our mint ice cream warms and relaxes on your tongue, it releases the scent of the fresh peppermint oil that we use, leaving a cool-mint feeling on your palate.

Our ice cream’s natural green hue is thanks to an algae called spirulina.

The mass-produced mint chocolate chip we loved as kids is dyed to achieve its signature glowing-green color. Color has a big impact on how we perceive flavors taste. For most people, green ice cream tastes mintier than other colors. We felt it was important to shade the ice cream the color of a peppermint leaf, but artificial coloring was out of the question. So we add a mixture of spirulina (a flavorless leaf popular in the health-food world) and fruit and vegetable juices that yield an all-natural green color.

 

Jeni’s favorite way to enjoy Green Mint Chip: Straight off a sugar cone.

Our chocolate chunks come from Fair Trade chocolate maker Askinosie.

Shawn Askinosie, founder of Askinosie Chocolate in Missouri, makes true bean-to-bar chocolate. These chocolates are not just single-origin, they are single-farmer, which is very specialized. Shawn picks the farmers before he picks the beans. That way Shawn and the farmers can select which variety of bean to grow and how to develop the ideal method to farm and process them. This ground-level involvement ensures top quality and flavor.

In the history of ice cream, mint chocolate hasn’t been around that long.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream was inspired by royalty. While a student at Torquay Catering College in England in 1973, Marilyn Ricketts entered an ice-cream-making contest where the winner’s frozen dessert would be served at the wedding of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. Ricketts’ mint-chocolate flavor, mint royale, emerged victorious. It quickly rose to the top of the charts in America, where it’s remained ever since.