It’s a tale of fire and ice-- cream.
The Ice Cream Shop in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware is heating up summer with its Ghost Pepper Ice Cream, a dessert so hot that customers have to sign a waiver just to try it out.
The sweet confection starts out with the shop’s signature African vanilla ice cream, ribboned with strawberry sauce and flavored with mash made of several hot sauces and Ghost Peppers-- one of the world's hottest peppers, measuring in at 1 million Scoville units. (Tabasco sauce measure just 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville heat units.)
Owner Chip Hearn, who runs the 45-year-old boardwalk institution, is proud of all of his unusual creations but the Ghost Pepper is close to his heart since he also runs a hot sauce store called Peppers.
"They're tasting it and they're talking about it. That's the game," Hearn told Delaware Online. The ice cream's creamy milk base takes helps soothe the tongue after eating spicy foods, so those wary of the eye-watering treat order extra vanilla.
The ice cream has been offered since 2012 but this year has been Hearn’s busiest. He says his employees usually hand out at least 200 tastes each week. But don’t expect to just ask for a spoonful and be on your merry way. Patrons must serve sign a comprehensive waiver before embarking on this potentially hazardous journey.
No under the age of 18, or over the age of 65 is permitted to even sample the dessert. Pregnant women, lactating mothers, or men with erectile dysfunction are banned from eating it.
“Anyone with heart ailments, vascular problems, respiratory problems, back problems, vision problems, high blood pressure, sinus conditions, digestive problems, circulation problems, immune problems, neurological or problems with authority should not taste this product!” the waiver warns.
"It should be noted that what is painful going in may also be painful during exit!" the waiver continues.
So how does it actually taste?
"It's good – until you get to a certain point. If I ate a whole cone, I would need a waiver and an obituary. It would read 'Jeff Hobbs – dead,'" one brave tourist from Pittsburgh told Delaware Online.
If you can’t handle the extreme heat, Hearn also offers two less fiery versions that capitalize on the hot and cold trend. One popular flavor this summer is Aztec chocolate-- vanilla ice cream flavored with Hershey's chocolate syrup, cinnamon, paprika and dark chocolate flakes and bacon bits marinated in a Ghost Pepper hot sauce known as Ghost of Christmas Past. There’s also the hilariously named "Stifler's Mom," named for Jennifer Coolidge’s cougar character from the "American Pie" movies, with brown "shugah" vanilla ice cream spiked with cayenne pepper, candied pecans and ribbons of caramel.
To Hearn, the whole Ghost Pepper experience isn’t just for the shock value. He claims it really brings people together all in the name of good fun.
“It’s not just one person tasting something, it’s the whole family getting together watching dad.”