Guinea Pig Ice Cream Is Ecuador's Hottest Trend

Chocolate, cookies and cream, or just plain vanilla. These are America's favorite ice cream flavors, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. But there's a new top flavor in town vying for contention, by way of Ecuador: guinea pig ice cream. No, not an ice cream made from guinea pig milk — one that is made literally from the flesh of guinea pigs. Huffpost reports guinea pigs are a "hot dish" in South America, especially in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, where they're often cooked with salt and served with potatoes and peanut sauce. But in Ecuador, they're the coolest new treat. 

The mastermind behind this wacky concept is María del Carmen Pilapaña, who serves hundreds of guinea pig cones per week from her small stall on the outskirts of Ecuador's capital Quito.

In need of work and with three children to feed, Pilapaña took a free training course for entrepreneurs who challenged her to "do something innovative." Boy did she answer the call. After six months of testing her innovative flavors on human guinea pigs, she was ready to start serving the guinea pig flavors to humans for a dollar a scoop. 

Despite accusations of brain freeze from others, Pilapaña soldiered on. "My family and my husband thought I was crazy. They didn't think anyone would like these ice creams, but now they're our main product," said Pilapaña.

How to turn guinea pigs into ice cream

The guinea pig ice cream is made from concentrated guinea pig flavor "after cooking and preparing a pate from the animal's flesh." Milk or cream is added, and it's refrigerated until it has the rough consistency of ice cream. Unsurprisingly, it tastes similar to chicken, and is typically topped with peanuts.

If guinea pig isn't your thing, there are plenty of other options, like the 40 different flavors made from beetles and mushrooms. In case you were wondering, beetle ice cream has "a slight aroma of wet earth." What an earthly delight. Pilapaña's success with guinea pig has inspired her to keep pushing further into uncharted flavor towns, with plans for chicken, crab, and pork ice creams.

"Seeing how my business is picking up," she said, "I'm sure I'll do well."