The Royal Wedding That Popularized Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Mint chocolate chip ice cream might not be everyone's favorite, but it has a big enough following that still ranks it high among the top ice cream flavors. Of course, mint chocolate chip is seen beyond ice cream parlors and Ben & Jerry's tubs. It's also a familiar flavor combination found in Girl Scout Cookies, coffee shops, and bakeries. But where exactly does this seemingly odd flavor combination come from?

According to Sense Ecuador, the flavor combination goes back centuries. Chocolate was first consumed by ancient Mayans and Aztecs throughout Central and Southern America. It was consumed without any of the added sugars or flavorings that we expect in chocolate today and was instead served in its most bitter form for medicinal purposes.

When Europeans started importing chocolate back home, they quickly started adding anything they could get their hands on to sweeten the dark brew of melted chocolate (via Sense Ecuador). This would have included mint leaves. This would have not only increased the medicinal benefits, as Healthline points out that mint has many health benefits, but also made the drink more tolerable to a European palette. According to McCormick, those same European palettes would help popularize the flavor combination as an ice cream flavor.

Mint Chocolate chip has royal origins

Mint chocolate chip ice cream first came to popularity thanks to its debut at the wedding of British royalty. McCormick points out mint chocolate chip was not a typical ice cream flavor until it was entered into a competition under the name 'Mint Royale' by Marilyn Ricketts. She was a culinary student at the South Devon College in England in 1973 when a competition was held to design the dessert for the wedding of Princess Anne to Captain Mark Philips. Mint Royale won the competition, and Ricketts was awarded a silver cup.

According to Vogue, Princess Anne is Queen Elizabeth II's only daughter, and her wedding was particularly remarkable because she was marrying outside the realm of royalty. While full of the gallantry of any royal wedding, it was described as a fairly traditional affair.

My Sweet Mission points out that while mint chocolate chip's presence at a royal wedding may have accelerated its popularity, it was first featured in the U.S. at Baskin Robbins. In fact, it was one of its original 31 flavors.