Barbara Geier: What’s your flavour?
What’s your favourite ice cream flavour: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mint choc chip, raspberry, coffee? You can’t decide? Well, then ‘Um’ might be the right choice for you. You can try it in Germany, more precisely, in the town of Gaggenau in southwest Germany where an ice cream parlour provides an answer for all the undecided customers who don’t know which flavour to go for:
The owner of the ‘Rimini’ ice cream parlour – one Alessandro Cimino – noticed that the first thing many people say when asked which flavour(s) they want scooped on their cones or in their cups is ‘Ähm’, the quintessential German sound and filler word for when you don’t know what to say. After one particular incident this July when one schoolboy simply couldn’t decide, producing a lot of continuous ‘Ähms’, while all the time the queue behind him got longer and longer, the idea, according to Alessandro, was born. The idea for ‘Ähm’, the flavour for the ones who don’t know which flavour to go for.
So, when you say ‘Ähm’/’Um’ at Rimini now you get an ice cream made of white chocolate mixed with pistachio crunch, described by its inventor as “looking like iceberg lettuce”. Despite that (and based on the colour only, I would be inclined to say ‘um, no’), it seems to be so tasty that it straight away became a bestseller, loved by children and grown-ups alike and second only to vanilla, which is apparently still the word that comes to the minds of Alessandro’s customers a bit more often than ‘Ähm’.
It might have helped that the creation for the indecisive caused quite a bit of buzz on social media and with national media picking up the story, the whole of Germany now knows about Alessandro’s invention. Who seems to have a penchant for imaginative flavour creations (or maybe just has a nose for marketing) because during Covid he created a new ginger-orange flavour called ‘Antivirus’. Not sure if that’s still on the menu at Rimini but ‘Ähm’ is not going anywhere. Intended as a gimmick initially, Alessandro has already announced that this particular flavour is here to stay. So, should your ways ever take you to Gaggenau, you might want to try it. You’ll know now how to order it.
Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind www.germanyiswunderbar.com, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria.
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