Tuesday, July 16, 2013
REVIEW: Graeter's Vanilla
When my contact at Graeter’s asked me if there were any other flavors I wanted to try besides their recently released Salted Caramel and Banana Chocolate Chip, I couldn’t help but remember an article I posted up earlier this year. The editors from the website Epicurious set out to determine which vanilla ice cream ranked the highest in a blind taste test. The experiment ended with Whole Foods Market Vanilla Ice Cream claiming the top spot, followed by Breyers and Ben & Jerry’s. Further down the list, below Turkey Hill and Haagen Dazs, Graeter’s Vanilla sat in the 7th spot. Having previously tasted their French pot Vanilla in one of my favorite flavors, Graeter’s Cookies & Cream, I was a bit perplexed at how exactly it had fallen so low in the rankings. Keeping that in mind, I asked that a pint of their classic Vanilla ice cream be included in my shipment so I could see for myself.
Graeter’s has this to say about their classic, small batch Vanilla, “We make only the finest. A proprietary blend of vanilla beans, freshly ground with sugar and blended into our creamy egg custard based ice cream. We use the whole bean, look for the specks!” After removing the top to this 290 calorie per serving, base only offering, I immediately see those aforementioned specks. By using the whole vanilla bean instead of just an extract, there are far more benefits besides just the enhanced aesthetics. Compared to an extract, actual vanilla beans are more expensive and harder to deal with, but provide far more flavor than any substitute. After cutting the pod in half and extracting all the oily seeds inside, Graeter’s adds the whole bean for a full-bodied, complex flavor profile. Considering the consistency of Graeter’s ice cream is unparalleled by the competition, taste is really the only thing I’m concerned about at this point.
After letting the carton sit out for a few minutes, I scoop out my first bite. Each spoonful of the slow melting, supremely dense ice cream lingers around for far longer than most of the competition. This trait allows for all the complexity of the creamy egg custard base to flourish before disappearing completely. The mixture starts out sweet and subtle, but slowly incorporates all the characteristics of a high-quality vanilla bean towards the tail end of each bite. Within a few scoops, my mind is made up. Graeter’s Vanilla is the clear-cut winner for my favorite vanilla ice cream of all time. While the blind taste test done by Epicurious was probably done accurately, the fact that consumers found Whole Foods, Breyers and La Salle vanilla ice creams better than that of Graeter’s leaves me with little hope for humanity.
Where I Found It: Graeter's Online Store
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