Tuesday, July 28, 2015

REVIEW: Sam's Choice Butterscotch Salted Chocolate Fudge

As I quickly scanned the ice cream aisle in my local Walmart Super-center, I found a flavor from Sam's Choice that we hadn't previously covered on our blog. Butterscotch is an inspiration for ice cream that I thoroughly enjoy, but sadly, it's not used very often. Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch from Ben & Jerry's is the most notable butterscotch themed ice cream of late, and one that we all enjoyed. This quart sized container of Butterscotch Salted Chocolate Fudge holds 8 half cup servings of butterscotch ice cream with thick salted chocolate fudge swirls.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

REVIEW: Haagen Dazs Ginger Molasses Cookie (Artisan Collection)

Haagen Dazs ice cream reviews have been scattered throughout this blog since the beginning. More often than not, these "pints" of ice cream find themselves near the upper portion of our overall rankings. Their standard flavors seem to score slightly above average, but their limited edition and specialty creations are the ones that have really wowed us. So when I recently ran across Ginger Molasses Cookie from their Artisan Collection I knew we had to investigate further.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tea-rrific Ice Cream Taste Test - Ginger Matcha, London Mist, ChunkyLondon Mist, Chamomile, Lavender's Blueberry, and Masala Chai

Over the past few months, we're received a few Reader Review that have covered a few of the currently available flavors from a brand called Tea-rrific. At Tea-rrific their goal is simple, "to craft the finest all-natural tea-infused ice cream using only the best ingredients sourced locally and from around the globe and without any of the gums, stabilizers or preservatives that have no place in great ice cream…keeping it simple while delivering a distinctly delicious ice cream experience that is flavorful, clean off the palate and leaves you wanting more!"

Once we'd decided it was time to try some of these tea-infused creations, we patiently awaited our shipment containing their current lineup of flavors. On arrival day, we quickly tore into the Styrofoam cooler to examine the cartons (and play with the dry ice). After giving everything ample thaw time, we started our taste test in no particular order. Before we get started, I'll say that these are full-fat ice creams, meaning the calories are high, but the super-smooth consistency is well-worth it. My thoughts on each flavor is as follows and were done in no particular order:

Ginger Matcha: A sweet bite of fresh ginger perfectly balanced with delicate grassy notes of premium Matcha green tea.

This flavor was perhaps the hardest to get used to out of the entire bunch. Being the first sample I had, I was very impressed with the consistency of Tea-rrific's ice cream, but didn't have much time to think about it before the flavoring took over my attention. The taste of fresh ginger is a taste I've acquired over time, and pairs well with the matcha green tea, but the result is something that only some will fully appreciate. While I enjoyed bite after bite, this is probably best to explore in small amounts and only worth picking up if you're investing in their entire six flavor rotation. If your taste buds are more adventurous however, and you're a fan of ginger and matcha green tea, this might be an A-rated flavor for you.

Grade: C

London Mist: The malty and citrusy notes of Earl Grey tea enhanced with a hint of vanilla.

While the name London Mist doesn't necessarily scream ice cream, I was pleasantly surprised by this pint. The description makes it sound like something you'd enjoy on a cold, rainy evening, but the truth is, that you can enjoy this any time. Considering these creations are inspired by tea, most of the flavor profiles are ones I'd never experienced before, which is always exciting. Just as the carton says, the hints of malt, citrus and vanilla all become evident as the super-premium base breaks down. Who knew that Earl Grey tea could make an above average ice cream?

Grade: B

Chunky London Mist: The malty and citrusy notes of Earl Grey tea with a hint of vanilla, rich semi-sweet Belgian chocolate flakes and buttery roasted pecan chunks.

Here's where things got good. After enjoying the previous pint of London Mist, I moved straight on to Chunky London Mist. This dark brown colored carton builds on the previous base by adding a few high-quality mix-ins. The simple addition of Belgian chocolate flakes and soft pecans give each spoon full of Tea-rrific's base some much needed texture. While I'm not sure what would have paired well with an Earl Gray base, Tea-rrific did an excellent job with their choices as shown by their first A-rated pint of ice cream.

Grade: A

Chamomile: Notes of apple and honey from Egyptian chamomile flowers.

I've enjoyed chamomile tea on a few occasions over my life, but none of those have times have I thought that it would translate into a successful ice cream. Wrong. The spoon full of unassuming looking ice cream above ended up being the best of the whole bunch. Tea-rrific fuses apple and honey flavoring into a top-notch ice cream mix to produce one of the best pints we've had that doesn't feature any mix-ins. While some of these flavors should be enjoyed in moderation, Tea-rrific's Chamomile was hard not to polish off all four servings in one sitting.

Grade: A

Lavender's Blueberry: Sweet floral blend of black tea and lavender with a fresh blueberry puree.

Judging solely off looks, Lavender's Blueberry would have probably been my guess for best flavor. Even the description sounds delightful. Unfortunately, the taste of lavender did not agree with my taste buds in ice cream form. The blueberry seems to get lost a bit aside from the beautiful hue it adds to the base. With how great some of the others taste, I'd suggest doubling up on some of flavors above (and below).

Grade: D 

Masala Chai: A warm blend of Assam black and rooibos teas with sweet aromatic and peppery spices.

Traditional chai tea is the type I'm probably most familiar with out of this shipment, so I was eager to sample this selection. Just as expected, Tea-rrific hits the nail on the head with this one. The levels of spice is well-balanced and the ice cream itself feels great on the tongue. The result is a very nice interpretation of the masala chai beverage in ice cream form.

Grade: B

We urge you to place an order at http://tearrificicecream.com if you're interested in trying any of the flavors above. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

READER REVIEW: Matthew's Review of Handel's Hand-Packed Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

After my wonderful experience trying Handel's Cake Batter, I knew I would be making more visits there this month. I decided to pick up their Cookie Dough, remembering reading Chef Bob's great review of the flavor. I also picked up Banana Cream Pie, which I will be tasting and reviewing tomorrow.

I crack the pint and immediately am blown away by the amount of mixins showing from the top. I have to be honest, I genuinely laughed out loud in happiness. I took a spoonful for myself to try before scooping it out for the actual review.

First thoughts: holy sh***. So much cookie dough.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

READER REVIEW: Caitlin's Review of San Miguel Best of the Philippines Ube Keso and Macapuno Ube Ripple

Here at The Ice Cream Informant, we love ice cream. We also love weird ice creams. Caitlin takes us through a Reader Review unlike any other. Continue reading to take a tour of some of the interesting selections from San Miguel's Best of the Philippines...

Price: $9.99 each
Found at: Lotte Plaza Market (Catonsville, MD)

After browsing around several Asian markets a little over a week ago with my dad for Taro ice cream to celebrate my birthday instead of traditional cake since I have a weird Taro obsession, something slightly more interesting caught my eye: Purple Yam with Cheese Bits ice cream. Excited to try such a unique and intriguing flavor, I decided to give it a shot. My father, on the other hand, was more reluctant and purchased a second container (Coconut sport with Purple Yam ripple) just in case it turned out disgusting. That, my friends, is why this review features two ice creams, not just one. I got too excited and completely forgot to take pictures of the nutrition label (I apologize), but I'm sure you can find the specific ingredients somewhere online; I included some of the general nutritional information for each.

First Review: San Miguel Best of the Philippines - Ube Keso: Ube (Purple Yam) with Cheese Bits
Nutrition: 1/2 cup, 140 calories, 5g fat, 21g carbs, 2g protein
Grade: A

Upon opening the container, I was slightly disappointed. As you can see in the picture, there was only one cheese swirl present, although several chunks of cheese were apparent on the surface. The rest of the ice cream had a deep purple hue, and had a very sweet smell to it, so I remained confident regardless of the lack of cheese.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

READER REVIEW: Matthew's Review of Handel's Hand Packed Cake Batter

I have been meaning to try Handel's ever since I found out there are two in this part of Indianapolis that I moved to a few months ago. Heck, one is right next door to my gym! Yesterday, on the way home form work, I made the decision to swing by and see what flavors were rotating right now. I had my heart set on the Caramel Pretzel, but unfortunately it's currently not on menu. Several caught my eye, but there were a few I saw that Handel's had been gracious enough to email me nutritional info on a few weeks prior. One being a personal favorite flavor of mine: Cake Batter. The girl behind the counter was sweet and courteous. I literally almost salivated when I saw the amount of dense ice cream they were packing into my pint! I quickly drove home in hopes I wouldn't have any refreezing issues.

This morning after my workout, I sped home in excitement to try my first offering from Handel's. I cracked open the pint. No refreeze, awesome. Not much to see, as this flavor does not have a swirl or mix-ins. I smelled the pint (you may find this odd, but I feel like smell is a factor in the experience) and the aroma is wonderful. I quickly tried a spoonful in my impatience. Wow. This is going to be good.

For nostalgia purposes, I put some sprinkles on top and then tore into my pint.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

READER REVIEW: Timothy's Review of Tea-rrific London Mist

Finally...the final pint of Tea-Rrific ice cream! I had made my way through the previous 5 pints and was pleased with most of their flavors. I probably should have done this pint before the Chunky London Mist pint, but I wasn't paying attention and didn't realize that they were the same flavor, except one had mix ins. Oh well! I decided to bust open this pint tonight. London Mist is described as "Malty and citrusy notes of Earl Grey tea with a hint of vanilla".

I took the lid off the pint and noticed the light brown/tan color of the ice cream. I took a bite and the first thing I noticed was the hint of citrus. It is very, very subtle and if you aren't paying attention, you may miss it. If you look for it though, it can be found. Kind of reminded me of some citrus type beers...the flavor doesn't overpower or even take the lead, but it's still present and an interesting surprise! The base is smooth and melts perfectly in your mouth with a very clean after finish. The main component that you can taste right away is the malty aspect of it! It is delicious! Like their other flavors, the combo of tea and ice cream is extremely unique and unlike anything else out there right now. I finished the pint in no time.

Need some ice cream suggestions? Click on what component you're craving for further assistance!

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