Photography by Nicholas Gallinelli & Byron Kittle
“Weak flavor,” “not sweet enough,” “not very chocolaty,” “malty,” and a color that looked like “hazelnut” or “coffee” were among myriad complaints about Whole Foods’ house brand.
This Berkshires, Massachusetts-based creamery proved very unpopular: “gummy texture,” “too bitter,” “strange flavor,” and “tastes like metal” were but some of the negative observations. One taster dramatically wrote, “can’t put into words how awful this is—it ruined ice cream for me.”
More Taste Test Tuesday: The Best And Worst Store-Bought Vanilla Ice Cream
The “smooth,” “milky” taste was a plus, but most thought the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based company owned by mega-retailer Kroger was “too soft,” “too sweet,” “too airy,” and ultimately “just okay.”
The “icy” texture and “bland” flavor turned off many to this Hudson Valley (Pine Plains) dairy, but others felt it “tasted like chocolate milk” and was “pretty good.”
A “rich,” “authentic,” “deep chocolate flavor” that “tastes like brownies” won over some, while others complained of a “weird taste” and that it “wasn’t sweet enough.”
“Just a bit above average” and “creamy” had Edy’s (marketed as Dreyer’s in the western US) finish in the top half of the scoring. It lost points from some by having an “artificial aftertaste.”
“Not bad,” “a solid taste,” and “creamy” were what most tasters thought of this brand owned by multinational company Unilever. On the downside, a number of reviewers stated it needed “more chocolate flavor” and was “kind of average.”
Turns out Ben & Jerry’s can still nail a plain flavor. “Good chocolate color,” “intense chocolate flavor,” and “very, very yum” summed up our thoughts of the Vermont-based, socially conscious ice creamery known for creatively named flavors full of chunks of this and swirls of that. A number of detractors felt it was too “bitter” and “not sweet enough,” though.
In our vanilla ice cream taste test, Friendly’s finished dead last. So it was a surprise to most that the 10,000-employee-strong East Coast chain scored high with their chocolate. “Taste is yum-o,” “classic chocolate flavor,” and “sweet and creamy” represented a majority of the comments.
The “milky” and “rich” flavor coupled with a “silky,” “creamy texture” had most tasters giving high scores all around to this national brand that started in the Bronx in 1961. It’s one of the few commercial ice creams not to use stabilizers such as guar or xanthan gum to give the product a fuller mouth feel and slow down melting. A few holdouts thought it “could have more chocolate flavor to make it great.”
So there you have it: the best store-bought chocolate ice cream brands. At the end of the day, though, if your dish doesn’t look like this when you’re done, you’re buying the wrong stuff!
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