What your favorite ice cream flavor says about you
Forget Facebook quizzes. If you want to know your personality type, just order an ice cream at Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe in Lexington, Virginia.
Canadian freelance writer/photographer Johanna Read specializes in travel, food, wellness, and responsible tourism. She visits four to six continents annually, sampling local foods whenever possible. See her work in outlets like Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, USA Today, Time Out, Reader’s Digest, on her website TravelEater.net, on Instagram @TravelEaterJohanna, and on Twitter @TravelEater.
There's a cute little ice cream shop in Lexington, Virginia, a charming college town with lots of students and lots of tourists, and therefore great need of ice cream. Sweet Things’ owner, Chris Williams, claims he can predict your personality by the ice cream flavor you order.
Williams seems to have President Donald Trump nailed. I tell him The Donald’s favorite flavor is supposedly cherry vanilla. He replies that choosing cherry vanilla “illuminates the dichotomy of a seemingly traditional straight shooter with one of candy opulence.” He adds, “vanilla is pure and the usual cherry is synthetic. However, both are very smooth.”
Scooping tens of thousands of ice cream cones at his shop, Williams noticed patterns. It started with him and Sweet Things staff trying to guess what people would order when they came in. They surprised themselves how often they got it right. Williams, a former lawyer, says he was already “accustomed to quickly sizing people up through body language, dress, and demeanor.” He translated this skill into ice cream.
Celebrity ice cream personalities
Williams recalls two celebrities that have come into Sweet Things. Their orders back up his theory. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the self-described “accessory” to downgrading Pluto from planet status, ordered Oreo and chocolate. “It fits. He is definitely a Type A, take-control guy,” says Williams. Other Type A celebs whose fave is reportedly chocolate are Rihanna and Blake Lively.
Georgia Tech coach Bobby Ross, who brought the 1994 San Diego Chargers to the Super Bowl, is a long-time Sweet Things customer. He always orders vanilla, though changes between a milkshake and a cake cone. This also fits Williams’ system. He says Coach Ross is “classic, straight forward, and traditional,” where, “what you see is what you get.”
Williams fully admits his observations aren’t scientific, but they do seem to hold true over his 15 years of ice cream experience. He’s tested the theory by asking the favorite flavors of friends and family members whose personalities he knows well.
I tell him the reported favorites of a few other celebs to get his reactions:
- Kim Kardashian loves dulce de leche: “Classic and right on. Dulce is rich, exotic, indulgent and a bit heavy.”
- Taylor Swift likes cookie dough: “Shows her youth and bubble-gum preferences.”
- Both Madonna and Serena Williams prefer green tea ice cream: “Shows an interest in purity and health with an exotic flair.”
- Elvis liked peach: “That’s a surprise. I would have thought more chocolate. Maybe he has a softer side. I know he was into bananas.” I learn later that Elvis had a penchant for chocolate milkshakes too; Williams was spot on.
Thanks to Williams’ personality predictors, hanging out at Sweet Things might be more effective than online dating for finding the perfect match. Students at Lexington’s colleges – the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Washington and Lee University – would do well to learn Williams’ taxonomy before they take a date to his ice cream shop. Some examples of Williams’ observations:
- Chocolate, mint chocolate chip, and Reese’s peanut butter flavors: assertive Type A personalities.
- Coffee flavors: confident Type As.
- Black raspberry, strawberry, ginger: introspective, compassionate Type B personalities.
- Vanilla, sweet cream, and smooth flavors: traditionalists and straight shooters.
- Cookie dough and other chunky ice creams: teenage girls and hedonists.
Looking for someone independent, decisive and who will welcome your dog into the relationship too? Williams advises keeping an eye out for the customer who orders banana ice cream. Bonus: these pet-lovers usually come in alone. “Banana people are interesting,” says Williams, and loyal in what they want. “If I don’t have it, 80% of the time they will leave abruptly without getting or trying any other flavors.”
Always in stock at Sweet Things are flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan, the latter “chosen by very intelligent people.” Beyoncé is a big butter pecan fan.
Sweet Things has eight alternate flavors that change daily, including Cinnamon Graham, Chocolate Amaretto, and Pumpkin Pie. Guinness is selected by adventurous people, says Williams. Chunky Irish Girl Scout, made from Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies in a Bailey’s Irish Cream base, is favored by confident type-A middle-aged women. No word whether they were former Girl Scouts.
Ice cream preferences also seem to change over time, Williams has noticed. Kids tend to order by color – after all, their personalities are still forming. As we age, we tend to prefer smoother ice creams with fewer frills and more sophistication. He says “cherry sherbet may change to cookie dough, and later change to Coffee Crunch.”
My ice cream personality
I found Coffee Crunch – coffee ice cream with bits of English toffee Heath bar – delectable, perhaps revealing both my type-A and hedonistic tendencies (though I was very tempted by the black raspberry, showing I do have an introspective compassionate side too). The elderly consistently order pralines and cream as well as butter pecan, so I know what’s in my future.
If you don’t want to reveal your personality cards at Sweet Things, order the Oreo. For those who want to remain more mysterious, know that there’s no pattern to people who order it. Sweet Things’ Oreo is unique – unlike more generic versions, this isn’t a vanilla ice cream with a few stray chunks of cookie. Everyone craves Sweet Things’ Oreo, says Williams. It’s rich and dark with no added chocolate in it. “I just add a ridiculous amount of Oreos into a high butterfat sweet cream.” Delicious and anonymous.