We all scream
November 25, 2014 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Have a question about ice cream? Ask The Ice Cream Informant. With finds like New Orleans Ice Cream Co. Café au Lait & Beignets, Blue Bell Birthday Cake and Talenti Gelato Sea Salt Caramel.

The Rankings

Ben & Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake (Limited Batch)
This year, even more than others, it seems Americans have become obsessed with the thought of pumpkin. What previously seemed to have only been a phase has turned into an all-out epidemic. Companies across the country have packed pumpkin flavoring into absolutely everything with the hopes of increased revenue. As a part of the craze myself, I've been pretty impressed thus far with the Fall flavor releases. Companies like Graeter's use a simple, pumpkin-puree base, while Turkey Hill takes another approach with a swirl of cinnamon graham cracker to impersonate pie crust. Ben & Jerry's strays from the beaten path completely with their limited batch Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Steve's Review of Blue Bell Mardi Gras King Cake (Seasonal, Gulf Coast Exclusive)
Wow! Mardi Gras season down here in Cajun country doesn't start until January 6th, but I was pleased to pass by my local Walmart and notice that Blue Bell has gotten a jump start on those festivities by releasing Mardi Gras King Cake, a flavor exclusive to the Gulf Coast region, stretching from the Florida panhandle to east Texas. Blue Bell says that this is a Cinnamon ice cream with pastry pieces, candy sparkles, and a cream cheese swirl, which by my reckoning hits the major King Cake ingredients, and since I always enjoy a good King Cake, I plunged the spoon in eagerly.
What's the difference between ice cream, frozen yogurt, and all the others?
posted by the man of twists and turns (65 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
No mention of the plastic baby/thing being present in the Mardi Gras King Cake ice cream, which is a significant omission in my view.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2014


I like ice cream and I like birthday cake, but birthday cake ice cream is absolutely vile.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:13 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I LOVE TALENTI SEA SALT CARAMEL GELATO

THERE IS TINY CANDY INSIDE IT

TINY FANCY CANDY
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:15 AM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


LIES, birthday cake ice cream is one of the best flavors. As long as they don't put those godawful cake chunks in them, anyway, those are terrible. But birthday cake ice cream is like getting to eat cake batter, except cold and creamy and with a markedly decreased chance of salmonella. A+.

Then again, I am also the person who will totally insist on superman ice cream instead of vanilla for the sheer joy of all the bright primary colors, so it's not like I've ever pretended to be an ice cream gourmet....
posted by sciatrix at 11:19 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


The same people also run Fast Food Informant, apparently.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:21 AM on November 25, 2014


All I know is that Salt & Straw is off the chain this season. Honey Bourbon Corn Pudding. Spiced Chevre Pumpkin Pie. Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans.

The lines are long for a reason. So good that the Vice-President detoured his motorcade for a sample of their wares.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was gonna say "well at least they don't have a turkey ice cream" but tHEY DO AND IM UPSET ABOUT IT
posted by poffin boffin at 11:25 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


is there no end to the hubris of man
posted by poffin boffin at 11:26 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


There was a Buzzfeed video recently where they turned turkey and stuffing and cranberry relish all into different ice creams and then fed them to people blindfolded. They had suspiciously positive reviews, even though all the flavors sounded completely terrible...
posted by sciatrix at 11:27 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I discovered the Ice Cream Informant a little while ago, and was simultaneously overjoyed that such a fabulous resource exists and pissed that I didn't think of it first.

There isn't anywhere to get New Orleans Ice Cream Co. products around here, so I was thrilled when I found Steve's NOLA Coffee & Donuts. But, unfortunately, it was underwhelming. The coffee ice cream part is great, but the donut pieces are sad, dense, flavorless lumps of carb. I'm not sure why the Ice Cream Informant gave it an A.

My favorite flavor that I've tried in the last few months is Three Twins Lemon Cookie, though the Ice Cream Informant only gives it a B.

Obviously I'll need to do more research to verify how reliable their reviews are.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:35 AM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


i feel sorry for people who don't have blue bell in their grocery stores.
posted by nadawi at 11:36 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


So good that the Vice-President detoured his motorcade for a sample of their wares.

At first I read this as "the Vice President devoured his motorcade" and thought, well, that's not an ice cream flavor I'd try, but to each his own.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:40 AM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


They agree with me on the Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Buns, and that's all that matters.
posted by Madamina at 11:42 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Raylan: "They don't have Chaney's."
posted by turbid dahlia at 11:44 AM on November 25, 2014


But birthday cake ice cream is like getting to eat cake batter, except cold and creamy and with a markedly decreased chance of salmonella.

It is both the taste of danger imparted by the risk of salmonella and the scarcity of cake batter (one typically has two coated beaters and a mostly-scraped bowl at most, less if there are siblings present) that makes it desirable. The safe abundance of a cold pint of the stuff lays its cloying wretchedness bare.

This was the best ice cream.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:48 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


They clearly haven't gotten around to Ample Hills Creamery which is in Brooklyn and is the best ice cream in the whole damn world.

Although I was pleasantly surprised to see they have Adirondack brand - although they haven't reviewed my own favorite flavor, Whiteface Mint Chip. I tend to like really strongly-flavored mint ice cream (I once joked to someone that if they ever made Altoid flavor ice cream, that'd be my Platonian Ideal), and Whiteface Mint Chip is the closest I've ever tasted to what's in my head.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Salt and Straw's the best ice cream that isn't just, like, house-made at a tiny restaurant-type stuff I've ever had. Trying not to be negative, but a lot of spots have popped up that cosmetically do the same "throw everything you'd never think to put in ice cream in, fresh and local and seasonal" but the results are kind of...thin and pale, where it doesn't live up to how AMAZING it sounds. S&S was the first place I went to that had that motif going on and I braced myself for another "here we go, goat cheese and fig or smoke and hefeweizen or olive oil and ricotta SOUNDS good, but maybe I won't taste it that well" and no, they totally frickin' delivered (it was the first time I ever had olive oil in a dessert where you could actually taste the good qualities of one making the thing delicious, and I'd been let down many times before with cakes and other ice creams). Love love love that place.

The heladerias in Spain were pretty cool too. I mean, I didn't TRY the clam ice cream or anything, but I guess I loved that it was there alongside the honeydew and tomato as comfy as you please.
posted by ifjuly at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2014


Ooh, yeah, Oatmeal Cookie Chunk is possibly my favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor of all time. Apple Crumble is up there, too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:56 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


sciatrix: There was a Buzzfeed video recently where they turned turkey and stuffing and cranberry relish all into different ice creams and then fed them to people blindfolded.

Oh, MIGHTY ROBOT COUPE, I BOW TO YOU: ONLY YOU CAN BRING THE PROPHESY TO CHILLY, TASTY FRUITION.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:57 AM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ben & Jerry's Triple Caramel Chunk is only grade B?! CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON, SIR.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:03 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


What is best in life?

To fill your bowl with Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream, to drive spoon-fulls of Talenti Roman Raspberry Gelato into it and swirl them together without fully blending them and to hear the jubilations of your taste buds!

CROM!!!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:11 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


NOT CROM ACTUALLY GROM
(Pistachio gelato)
posted by lalochezia at 12:12 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


is there no end to the hubris of man

The modern Prometheus.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:17 PM on November 25, 2014




There is no flavor of ice cream that can't be improved by removing the ice cream portion of the equation and just serving the original flavor.

[for those of you who think you're smart and getting ready to ask, "What, even vanilla? You'd rather chew on a plain vanilla bean?" I would like preemptively respond: "vanilla ice cream isn't really ice cream, it's a special abomination."]
posted by komara at 12:17 PM on November 25, 2014


I'll have to look out for the Ben and Jerry's pumpkin cheesecake, but their usual strawberry cheesecake flavor is also excellent.
posted by maryr at 12:30 PM on November 25, 2014


NOT CROM ACTUALLY GROM

I'm off to Rome next week. Gotta love it when I'm in a town where GROM is like, the sixth or seventh best ice-cream you can get within a couple of hundred yards of wherever I'm staying.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014


The Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato is indeed really good, though I have to admit that I didn't get much salt flavor in the pint I got. Much is forgiven for those perfect little caramel truffles sprinkled throughout though.
posted by yasaman at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014


We all scream

The police come
It's awkward

posted by Greg_Ace at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


Just realized that I have to do a partial retraction of my statement re: ice cream for without ice cream my beloved milkshake wouldn't exist, and then I would be very sad indeed.
posted by komara at 12:34 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


BTW, these are the BEST.
posted by maryr at 12:35 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nooooooo why must you show me these, it is so cold and so British here and not even mince pie ice cream can make the world a better place because I do not have king cake ice cream in my house.
posted by Katemonkey at 12:37 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


There is no flavor of ice cream that can't be improved by removing the ice cream portion of the equation and just serving the original flavor.

I'm of the opposite camp: there is no dessert that can't be made better by turning it into ice cream.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:39 PM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


i just imagined chicken soup ice cream with candied carrot bits and gribenes sprinkled on top and i'm so indescribably furious
posted by poffin boffin at 12:46 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


komara:
"There is no flavor of ice cream that can't be improved by removing the ice cream portion of the equation and just serving the original flavor."
BURN THE HERETIC!!!!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:49 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is there carrot (cake) ice cream yet? I dreamed this up under the dubioius influence of painkillers, post-wisdom-tooth-extraction, and twenty years later I still haven't gotten proficient enough with ice cream to make my own. I was picturing sweet carrot puree, cloves, rum-soaked raisins and maybe cream cheese frosting, somehow.

PLEASE O PLEASE
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:02 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Chesty, I was thinking about cream cheese ice cream with carrot cake chunks, maybe wrapped in a thin layer of that yogurt coating stuff to keep it from getting soggy. Seems like a lot of effort to produce though.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:20 PM on November 25, 2014


Is there carrot (cake) ice cream yet?

A homemade option.

Another one.

Sometimes Ben and Jerry has it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Upon reviewing the recipes - actually, they seem to come close; the carrot puree and the spices, definitely. You could definitely throw in some rum-soaked raisins; as for the "frosting" bit, try the same technique found here for the cream cheese swirl.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I enjoy the birthday cake varieties of ice cream as well, though one has to be careful not to reflect on how it's essentially the flavor you'd get if you had a birthday party for a bunch of nauseated children and refroze the proceeds.
posted by sonascope at 1:45 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, I suppose this will have to do for those not lucky enough to hang out in the Seattle area, home of (among other wonderful choices) Molly Moon, Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt, Gelatiamo, Fainting Goat, Bluebird, Lick Pure and Full Tilt. Each of which makes you feel you have died and gone to frozen creamy confection heaven.
posted by bearwife at 1:55 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


chesty_a_arthur, I'm not sure it's as good as what you are describing, but at least one local place in Boston (Christina's) usually has carrot cake ice cream.
posted by maryr at 1:59 PM on November 25, 2014


We all scream

The police come
It's awkward


This is why we need a robust space program. In space, no one can hear ice cream.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:09 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't actually like Jeni's all that much. Too ice-crystal-y. I do like the intense otherness of some of their flavors such that I am forced to eat leetle teensy spoonfuls off of the tip of my tongue (I think it was the sea salt caramel one -- there was something about it that was different from other sea salt caramel things).

Their sorbets, however... *glrmrlmrlmrlmrm.....*
posted by Madamina at 2:11 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Haha! Hat-tip to MEEEEE!

(you sneaky bugger)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:57 PM on November 25, 2014


Best ice cream recipe: caramelized white chocolate ice cream, sprinkled with smoked sea salt... waaaay too good..

and this recipe is pretty amazing Marcella's Gelato di Cioccolato del Cipriani

In both, I cut the sugar down to taste.. usually 1/3 less.

if you make your own for T'day I recommend a medley of butternut squash ice cream, chestnut ice cream and cranberry/jalepeno sorbet sides for T'day. For dessert The Hazan chocolate gelato is spectacular.
posted by snaparapans at 3:06 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


You need to be here for best in the world (yes. Staunton, Va.). I mean, like, hands down (if one could hold a gelato cup that way).
posted by Namlit at 3:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Unlike Madamina, I love Jeni's and am a little bit ruined for all other supermarket ice creams, including Blue Bell, which disappointingly had HFCS in it and tasted like chemicals to me.

Target has a small selection of Jeni's pints for $9.99 (I, too have experienced cashier surprise when buying it) on sale this week for $7.99. It is hard to not go back for more Brown Butter Almond Brittle.
posted by 41swans at 3:31 PM on November 25, 2014


I'm still bitter that the entire justification for the interminable existence of Haaagen Daczzxzyz, their green tea flavor, became instantly unpalatable the moment I realized they were owned by Nestle, because no Nestle ever ever ever shall enter my home again because they are evil.

The actual best ice cream for me used to come from the dairy at the University of Maryland, College Park, as the second side benefit of going to a cow college after access to apiary science classes. That was good stuff.
posted by sonascope at 4:17 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


No Ronnybrook? That's a shame. But I hadn't heard about these new Blue Bell cake flavors and oh oh oh my god.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:25 PM on November 25, 2014


Oddly enough, our on-campus dairy's ice cream is just not that great. I think, though, it's because their chocolate flavor more closely resembles my mother's weak, vaguely beige idea of cocoa and not our local gold standard of Zanzibar Chocolate from the Chocolate Shoppe. (Another Chocolate Shoppe favorite: This $&@! Just Got Serious.)
posted by Madamina at 6:08 PM on November 25, 2014


But they are entirely wrong about the B&J's Raspberry Fudge Chunk Greek Yogurt.
posted by seyirci at 6:18 PM on November 25, 2014


In other news, sonascope: Thanks for reminding me that I haven't been to the dairy in a while. Maybe next week. It'll snow tomorrow.

If anyone is near Bethesda, MD, and inexplicably hasn't been to Dolcezza Gelato there in Bethesda Row, do try the lime/cilantro and thank me later.

I actually add a touch of salt to most ice cream flavors, and therefore found the Talenti Sea Salt Caramel to be not-enough-salty too, but the texture was as good as they say.
posted by seyirci at 6:26 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


One of my saddest ever ice cream-related days was the day I discovered Stonyfield Farms had for some unknown reason decided to discontinue their ice cream line and keep their frozen yogurt line (?!?!). Which meant that literally the best dark chocolate ice cream I have ever had in the United States was no more. It is near impossible to find really good dark chocolate ice cream without chunks. Jeni's is decent but not good enough to justify the $10/pint price tag.

In the UK you can get Green & Black ice cream and as you can imagine, it's pretty much the best. I know I've bought it in the US once many years ago but at some point they sadly stopped making it here.

An even longer time ago, you used to be able to buy Godiva ice cream in pints and that was discontinued too and I don't think they've brought it back yet. Their Belgian Dark was amazing.

So yeah. Why it's so hard to find good dark choc ice cream with no chunks is a mystery to me. I'm to the point where I'm kind of fed up with looking and am ready to just buy an ice cream maker and make it myself.

Aside from that it's Talenti Banana Chocolate Swirl or GTFO.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:31 PM on November 25, 2014


triggerfinger: I direct you to said Zanzibar Chocolate in Madison, WI.
posted by Madamina at 6:58 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


My favorite flavor that I've tried in the last few months is Three Twins Lemon Cookie

That stuff is delicious. However I think my current favorite is Magnolia purple yam. OMG. Wonderful.

Tonight I longingly eyed the ice cream section but restrained myself. Sigh.
posted by bunderful at 7:03 PM on November 25, 2014


Tillamook Oregon Strawberry ice cream is the supreme ruler of goddamn strawberry ice cream.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:06 PM on November 25, 2014


FYI, Boston-area folk, carrot cake is apparently one of the Flavors of the Month at JPLicks right now. As is pumpkin cheesecake and a wild turkey bourbon.

Carry on.
posted by maryr at 8:27 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thanks Madamina. I don't think I've seen that brand before, but I'd have to see the container to be sure. Hopefully they sell it in the Twin Cities. I'll look for it next time I'm grocery shopping at the nicer grocery store.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:35 PM on November 25, 2014


Huh. I thought they were only local, but it says they distribute in southeastern Minnesota. Maybe Winona...?

Worth a day trip. Come on down! I'll take you myself :D
posted by Madamina at 12:10 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Siince Breyer's trashed their "All Natural" ice cream a ways back, the only ice cream I will allow in my freezer is Turkey Hill Black Lid. It's the only product left that's not full of guar gum or other thickeners. The mouthfeel is sublime. Mint Chip preferable.

I still lie awake some nights thinking about Breyer's Cookies & Cream, the version produced before the recipe change. I could have lived on that stuff. The day i brought some home and realized they'd changed the ingredients, I actually cried.
posted by kinnakeet at 1:24 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Okay, y'all have got me to re-shift my Me's-Giving dessert menu a bit - I am already making a single-size rustic apple tart, and already have the makings of a cranberry-grapefruit sorbet.

But after reading all of this, I'mma get some milk and dig out the recipe I got from the gelato-making class last year; my three single-size ice cream churn bowls are already in the freezer; and I'll mix up a couple of different flavors tonight so they can be chilled by tomorrow morning and I'll have a few different sorbets and gelatos to choose from for my tart a la mode.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:30 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


the Chocolate Shoppe

I was going to thank you sarcastically for reminding me of one of the things I miss most about Madison.

Then I looked at their website, and found the "Independent Shoppes" link, and apparently there's several stores throughout a multi-state region, including a couple right here in the Indianapolis area, which sell The Chocolate Shoppe's ice cream! One of which I will surely be visiting this afternoon.

So now instead of thanking you sarcastically, I must thank you sincerely. Also, Moose Tracks FTW.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:15 AM on November 26, 2014


i just imagined chicken soup ice cream with candied carrot bits and gribenes sprinkled on top and i'm so indescribably furious

Finally, at the age of 27, I have learned what Robin Williams is saying in Mrs. Doubtfire, a movie I watched probably once a week when it was released on videotape. “I should never buy gribenes from a mohel. It's so chewy.”

I didn't even know how to spell it well enough to google it before, honestly.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:20 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


yes excellent, come in, welcome, please enjoy our traditional fleishik delicacies, and when was the last time you called your mother
posted by poffin boffin at 9:48 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


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