To commemorate The Ice Cream Informant’s second time celebrating July 4th, I’ve chosen another American classic to review. July 4th, 2012 brought us a review of Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream, but for 2013, I’ve decided to stick with something more traditional.
After trying over 25 different flavors from Blue Bell over the past year, I realized that I had yet to try their pride and joy: Homemade Vanilla. A reader of mine had sent a few emails suggesting I scoop Blue Bell’s best seller, so when I saw a pint available for under two dollars, I finally pulled the trigger. According to their website, Homemade Vanilla is, “Our most popular ice cream and with good reason. It’s rich, homemade tasting vanilla ice cream with a special hand-cranked flavor that’s the best in the country.” Staking a claim for the country’s best vanilla ice cream isn’t something that should be taken lightly and I can imagine companies like Graeter’s, Jeni’s and even Ben & Jerry’s might have something to say. Regardless of my bias towards super-premium ice cream, I decided to give Blue Bell’s premium version the benefit of the doubt.
Unlike many of the other heavier vanilla options available, Homemade Vanilla contains only 160 calories per serving or a little over 600 calories for the entire pint. With the gold lid removed, the manila colored first layer lacks the specks of vanilla bean you’d expect from a pint featuring vanilla and free of any other mix-ins. The density of Blue Bell’s ice cream is pretty consistent across their entire lineup and this is no different. The base is more substantial than low-fat ice cream, but has a fluffier feel than the heavier, high-butterfat options mentioned in the previous paragraph. Despite the lack of super-premium consistency, the effectiveness of the flavors is undeniable.
As an ice cream traditionalist, I’ve grown to appreciate simplicity in ice cream and Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla embodies this. Even though the flavors aren’t overly complicated, the subtle sweetness released as the ice cream melts down can certainly compete with its super premium counterparts. I thought I’d quickly grow tired of the monotony, but I continuously found myself going back for another bite. Although I wasn’t able to give this an A without the assistance of any mix-ins, Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla had no problem holding its own.
Where I Found It: Ingles Markets