When I spotted some offerings from Gifford's Ice Cream at a local gourmet market, I almost started jumping up and down right there in the frozen foods aisle. Gifford's is based out of Maine, and I think the last time I'd tasted it was when I was actually in Maine on vacation. And from what I remembered, this was the good stuff.
Being a fan of all things coconut-related, I decided to try their Toasted Coconut. This flavor is described on the carton as "rich coconut ice cream liberally blended with chocolate toasted coconut flakes," and having eaten my way through half the carton, I'm convinced that it's those very flakes that make this flavor a winner.
The flakes add a nice textural element that kick the relatively mild base up a notch. I find that a lot of coconut flavors out there are straight up base without the mix-ins (think Talenti Caribbean Coconut, for example), so the chocolate flakes are a really welcome addition here. And the folks over at Gifford's weren't kidding when they said "liberally blended." You can see what you're getting into from the moment you crack open the carton. In other words, forget about having to go on a small scavenger hunt just to find the mix-ins. These babies are all over the place.
Now I have to say, for a coconut ice cream, this one doesn't really smack you with a strong coconut essence. And to be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, it's always a good thing when an ice cream achieves a nice balance of flavor. On the other hand, I kind of expected the coconut itself to pack just a bit more of a punch. It's tasty, and it's there, but I think I'm missing the "toasted" element in particular. The coconut flakes taste more like chocolate chip pieces to me (though they definitely have the softer, chewier texture of coconut), and the base itself has more of a subtle coconut taste. Still, I definitely enjoyed this flavor on a whole, and at 140 calories per half-cup serving, you get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of both creaminess and contrast. All in all, this one's a winner for coconut lovers and fair weather coconut fans alike.
Where Mo Found It: Delicious Orchards (Colts Neck, NJ)
Mo's Grade: B