It has been a while since I have ventured towards the Graeter’s line. I have no idea why besides variety, but after my trip to Columbus with fellow reviewer (Winston), it just reminded me truly how much I have missed the company and their products. Being an individual who thrives off mix-ins and a good base ice cream, Graeter's does nothing but meet those expectations to the best degree in my opinion (and very close to 2nd Street Creamery). Even though this pint (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) may seem boring and bland, it does nothing but deliver.
Upon cracking the lid, you are presented with a very fine, rich, and creamy vanilla base. The best part is that compared to a Ben & Jerry’s it has a small aftertaste of a cheesecake/cake batter vanilla base, which is divine. Its very good to be honest, and it is perhaps one of my favorite vanilla ice creams (2nd Street Creamery is very close with their Can’t Tell Me No! Cookie Dough). Also, if you know Graeter’s, they do not short change you with mix-ins and you can even see that on the initial layer. Most ice cream pints you buy you do not see what you are getting into until you dig into the pint for a few bites. Graeter’s on the other hand, from top to bottom, you are getting mix-in heaven. This is another reason why I truly love this brand.
The first bite was nothing short of great. A huge chocolate chip chunk (which Graeter’s thrive off of) and a good dose of a creamy and cake batter like vanilla base that has a very lasting aftertaste and acts as the perfect compliment to a chocolate chip piece. Now if you are new to Graeter’s, you may wonder how large and why these mix-ins are so large? Well that is how Graeter's’ is. Some of the chunks I have seen, like when I got a brownie Sundae at a Graeter’s Scoop Shop in Columbus, are as long as 1/2"-3/4" in diameter. It’s honestly like they took a Hershey bar and failed at breaking it up in their pints or their scoop shops. Don’t be surprised when you run into a very thick/dense mix-in. This is a normal sighting and my second piece of a chocolate chip was the exact same way (the one not on my spoon in the picture).
As I ventured my way through the pint, the mix-ins continued to get larger and larger and more profound which is pretty common in a Graeter’s Pint. The cookie dough balls are in every other bite, and the chocolate chips are in the bites in between, so every single bite you are leaving with a nice mix-in with a very good base ice cream. What is crazy, is that if you look at all the mix-ins, the pint is nearly 50% ice cream and 50% mix-in (and sometimes even more mix-in than ice cream). The cookie dough pieces are good, but not the best. I would rank 2nd Street's Can’t Tell Me No! Cookie Dough superior due to the cookie dough swirl it offers, but the chocolate chip pieces in this really makes Graeter’s a close call for my favorite cookie dough flavored ice cream in pint form. The cookie dough pieces are a nice size and remind me of the ones in Ben & Jerry pints like Half Baked and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (Graeter’s pints has a better base and better mix-ins than Ben & Jerry’s version in my opinion).
Overall though, it tastes like you wrapped some fresh cookie dough right into a small circle and threw it right into the fold. If you are looking for a divine swirl, look to 2nd Street Creamery. If chocolate chips in large masses were up your alley, this pint would be something to highly consider. Again, I would rank Graeter’s above Ben & Jerry’s base/mix-in wise, but this is very on par with 2nd Street’s Can’t Tell Me No! Cookie Dough.
Where Bob Found It: Giant Eagle
Bob's Grade: A