My yearly quest to locate this year’s ideal pint has begun. You can eat ice cream both during summer and winter (and is, honestly, the only justification I need to consume the sweet treat every day), and the search is well underway.
Nonetheless, fundamentals need to be revisited. However, no matter how many caramel swirls, candy bar chunks, and fruit bits are mixed into the foundation, the ice cream will still only be as excellent as its base. As for my preference, I find that vanilla is the most pleasant of the three widely-recognized base flavors, followed closely by chocolate and strawberry.
A delicious scoop of vanilla ice cream is the ultimate dessert. The fabulous, creamy dessert goes well with just about any sweet (particularly pies! ), and it’s few high-quality ingredients prove that less is more.
Though I couldn’t wait to get the tasting underway, I did feel a bit daunted by the sheer number of famous ice cream makers that boast a traditional vanilla flavor. So, I picked five staples that will always be available at the supermarket. (Plus, by keeping the first pool of candidates small, I’ll have a reason to test out another five down the road and report my findings.)
As promised, here is the lowdown on the finest commercially available vanilla ice cream.
Many businesses make vanilla ice cream, but Tillamook’s was the smoothest and richest. This gallon’s devotion to employing simple, natural ingredients is just one more reason to celebrate it.
Tillamook’s recipe, which prioritizes a silky-smooth texture and minimizes artificiality, changed my mind about ice cream. While it will be challenging to unseat our champion, I encourage all comers to try their hand at vanilla ice cream making.
Haagen-Dazs is the gold standard for vanilla bean ice cream, so if that’s your flavor of choice, you’re in excellent hands. Undoubtedly, it had the most intense vanilla flavor, and you could spot a few bits of vanilla bean.
However, it was also the sweetest, so remember that you may need to compromise on other flavors to maintain authenticity. In this particular instance, it is well worth it.
The perfect base for a sundae, ice cream sandwich, or milkshake, this vanilla ice cream has no additives and is of the highest quality. It was a nice change of pace from the more elaborate Ben & Jerry’s flavors I’m used to buying, and I loved the simplicity of the taste.
As the vanilla ice cream in all of Vermont’s finest pints, this one more than lived up to expectations of smoothness and creaminess.
The taste wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t anything to get excited about. The least sweet of the bunch, it went well with sweeter toppings like the chocolate and whipped cream I mentioned before, but I didn’t care for its ice milk-like consistency.
Nothing about it was particularly great, but it wasn’t bad either. Some consumers might prefer a milder ice cream flavor. But I’m a “bring me the full-fat milk sensation” kind of guy, so I want my dairy products rich and creamy.
To Edy’s credit, this slow-churned variant is advertised as having 1/2 the fat — and it certainly tasted like it. It tasted just like the others and was just as creamy. Still, the aftertaste was somewhat medicinal, so it was my least favorite. It had a whipped texture despite claiming to be “half-fat,” which could be explained by adding extra air (rather than cream) to save production costs.
I also couldn’t get over how the presence of filler components like corn syrup made it unacceptable to add my preferred finishing touches, namely whipped cream and salted caramel. I’m sorry to say it, Edy’s, but this one just wasn’t good enough.
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