Thursday, February 11, 2016

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry's Half Baked FroYo

It's hard to believe, but after reviewing practically every Ben & Jerry's flavor released over the past 3-4 years, not once have I had the urge to try their FroYo. Plenty of people swear by the stuff and enjoy it often in an attempt to make a "healthier" snacking decision. I on the other hand, feel if I'm going to indulge in ice cream, it needs to be the real deal. I'll sacrifice in my diet elsewhere or spend more time in the gym in order to offset the need for an ice cream substitute to save calories, but that's just me. Ben & Jerry's traditional Half Baked received full marks in our rankings and comes in at 270 calories, while this lighter version has 90 less at only 180 calories per serving.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

REVIEW: Goat Cheese & Bing Cherry from Ultimate Ice Cream (Asheville, NC)

Back in the early Spring of 2013, we reviewed a flavor referred to as Imladris Farm Apple Cobbler. This creation took locally sourced, North Carolina Apple Butter and mixed it with gelato from another local establishment, Ultimate Ice Cream. Fast forward to earlier this week while shopping at a nearby deli & market in my new neighborhood. Their small freezer section featured pints from the same aforementioned Ultimate Ice Cream. The one that stood out the most was the one decorated with a heart, Goat Cheese & Bing Cherry.

We'd tried a very similar flavor in Jeni's Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, which received incredibly high marks, so I couldn't wait to dig into Ultimate Ice Cream's version. One bite was all it took to further my infatuation with cheese-infused foundations. The feel provided by this and other's such as Creole Cream Cheese from New Orleans Ice Cream Company, are vastly superior to your run of the mill ice cream. Naturally ice cream feels "creamy", but the way the goat cheese base coats the interior of your mouth just isn't found often.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

REVIEW: Publix Premium Peanut Butter Pie (Limited Edition)

Our latest review from the freezers of Publix comes in the form of yet another limited edition half-gallon. Publix Premium's Peanut Butter Pie brings together peanut butter pie ice cream with swirls of Mackinac peanut butter cookie ribbon and milk chocolate flakes. Similarly themed ice creams such as the legendary Peanut Butter Pie limited edition from Haagen Dazs and Front Porch's My-O-My Peanut Butter Pie have done very well within our rankings system so now we'll see how this supermarket branded version stacks up.

Monday, January 25, 2016

READER REVIEW: Steve's Review of Blue Bell Butter Crunch

As part of their slow roll-out of product back into the marketplace, Blue Bell recently released "Butter Crunch". Blue Bell describes Butter Crunch as "Vanilla flavored ice cream with chunks of crunchy chocolate peanut butter candy". I have previously eaten two tubs of this flavor, but not since late 2012. My experience with this ice cream then was tepid, and though I didn't write down my impressions, I agreed with the Ice Cream Informant's official review, which graded this at a "C". So three years and a Listeria outbreak later, I wasn't expecting to be very impressed.

So what about now? Well, I'm considerably more impressed with this new version of Butter Crunch than I was a few years ago. While it still features a "vanilla flavored" base that isn't as rich and creamy as Blue Bell's "Homemade Vanilla" flavor, the mix-ins are markedly improved. The previous times I ate Butter Crunch, the candy pieces were so small the best word to describe them would be as "flakes" or "crumbs", too small to convey much flavor, and they added up to a pretty bland overall offering. Not so now! The tub I ate yesterday featured much bigger chunks. Yes, there was still a plethora of small shards of candy, but there were also many larger chunks of both the chocolate and, even more prominently, the peanut butter candies. These chunks combined with the smaller flakes and shards to create a rich mix-in experience. The flavor of the peanut butter chunks bears noting: They aren't pure peanut butter, but rather a crunchy candy, very similar to the middle of a Butterfingers bar. Which, since I like Butterfingers, was alright by me.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

REVIEW: Yuengling's Original Sea Salt Caramel Swirl

Let's start with a little history about this brand since this is the first recorded review of a flavor from Yuengling's. From 1920 to 1985, this family owned operation provided Pennsylvania with ice cream before eventually having to close up shop, but then in 2014 David Yuengling and others were able to get things back up and running.

David had this to say on their website, "My family has a long history of making quality products in Pennsylvania. We first began making ice cream back in 1920 when my great grandfather, Frank Yuengling, started a dairy business during Prohibition to help support the family brewery. Yuengling Dairy Products made incredible ice cream for more than 65 years and brought fond memories to generations of Pennsylvanians. For all those people who have asked, and for the many others who have not had the opportunity to try our ice cream, it is our pleasure to bring back the great tradition of Yuengling's Ice Cream. We have taken the utmost care to create a product that we believe you will love and will stand up to my family's tradition of quality and value. Our product is all natural, starting with local milk and cream that has no added hormones. We produce all of our ice cream in a small dairy in central Pennsylvania and, whenever possible, source our ingredients from local suppliers. We hope you will try our ice cream. We believe it is one of the best products you can buy anywhere."

While we'll be the judge of that, this brand comes highly recommended. We've received a handful of emails from readers concerned about the lack of coverage for Yuengling's on our blog, but that will soon change. A local Harris Teeter began to offer a few different flavors from Yuengling's in their quart sized containers including the one we settled on below: Original Sea Salt Caramel Swirl.

A company's salted caramel ice cream seems to be the measuring stick these days, so this simple sounding description of sea salt caramel ice cream with rich caramel swirls should let us know exactly what Yuengling's is made of. Just as we expected when we saw the first two ingredients listed as milk and cream, the consistency is just as a super-premium, 200+ calorie per serving base should be. Where other companies have went to the extreme with their saltiness, Yuengling's doesn't stray far from a traditional caramel taste. Only a slight bite from the salt ends up coming through as the ice cream slowly melts away.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

REVIEW: Edy's Salted Caramel Pretzel Frozen Custard

It's been a while since we've seen any Edy's entries into our ever-growing collection of reviewed ice creams. After we ran through their standard offerings, we usually only look to Edy's if we need a low-calorie fix or if they release some new seasonal flavor. That was until Edy's decided to stray from their monotonous methods of providing ice cream to the masses and venture into the world of frozen custard. 

Edy's claims, "It may look like ice cream, but one scoop and you'll know that it's something completely new. Edy's Frozen Custard is rich, extra thick and creamy and made with wholesome ingredients like fresh milk." While using fresh milk should seem obvious in ice cream production, there's a plethora of mystery ingredients that go into your ice cream made my most large-scale manufacturers. Of course by looking at the ingredients list of Salted Caramel Pretzel, the quart we settled on, it certainly doesn't seemed shortened by the use of fresh ingredients. Per Edy's website, this flavor is, "A perfect combination of sweet cream frozen custard, chocolaty covered pretzels pieces and a generous swirl of salted caramel."

Friday, January 15, 2016

FREEZER FINDS: Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter & Cookies, Another Walmart Exclusive

Doug, a reader of ours from Pheonix, recently ran across Ben & Jerry's limited-batch Cake My Day as well as this new exclusive: Peanut Butter & Cookies. Sweet cream ice cream with chocolate sandwich cookies & a crunchy peanut butter swirl sounds like a recipe for a success. We look forward to reviewing both of the new releases in the weeks ahead.

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

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