Candy canes take me down memory lane, a holiday constant going all the way back to the days of my youth. For me, the sight and smell of these fragile, minty, saccharine treats is decidedly associated with Christmastime. It is one of those candies that creates a certain excitement simply based on this seasonal affiliation.
When December rolled around this year, thanks to the local specialty market that stocks McConnell's, I had the chance to scoop McConnell's' Peppermint Stick ice cream. This pint is actually available from McConnell's year round, but only stocked locally during the holidays. Peppermint Stick is an old time flavor from this heritage brand, and that it earns it's spot in the lineup all year long is a very promising sign.
The majority of mint ice creams out there are combined with chocolate, known as "mint chip" on the street. A product of my environment, I have been conditioned to believe the chocolate component is a necessity, and wondered if the mint flavor alone can deliver the goods.
Some issues we've all experienced with candy canes, besides breakage during the unwrapping process, are the cloying sweetness, sticky fingers and potential for dental impact, not to mention the destruction of any finished surface a half eaten cane comes into contact with. Just leave them on the tree this year. This ice cream has a lovely sweet peppermint candy flavor, and the best part is that it plays up the hopelessly thick, high butterfat, low overrun sweet cream McConnell's base I love so much. Some brands may need to throw out a bit of misdirection in the form of other mix ins to shift the focus from a stabilized base lacking structure and flavor balance. If you've got it, flaunt it. McConnell's lets the peppermint accentuate the ice cream, and that is exactly what I love about this flavor.
As you see pictured, candy cane pieces dot the landscape, and provide enough texture to keep things reminiscent of gnashing candy canes through your teeth as a yule log burns warmly in the background. This McConnell's classic is one of the most delicious peppermint ice creams I've ever had. If you're looking for a pint to put you in the Christmas spirit, this is it.
Where Elliot Found It: Straub's Market
Elliot's Grade: A