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Dec 19, 2004 10:30 AM

What's your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream??

  • p

Being a chocoholic, I'm unfamiliar with vanilla ice cream, but need to buy some to go with a dessert I'm preparing for Christmas dinner. Would love recommendations...I live in San Francisco....


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  1. I like either Haagen-dazs or (believe or not) Safeway's premium vanilla ice cream (the kind they sell in pints.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nancy Berry

      I agree with you here about Safeway brand Vanilla Ice cream. So cheap, so good!

      1. re: myWeltanschauung

        I love almost all of Safeway brand dairy products.

    2. b
      Boris Carlitov

      Breyers vanilla with the eggs (french vanilla?)


      1. Double Rainbow. Trader Joe's carries it, but I believe it's a San Francisco based company. Creamiest, best vanilla I've ever tasted.

        3 Replies
        1. re: LBQT

          Agree Double Rainbow is nice.

          Ironically, as Nancy Berry likes Safeway brand, Ralph's Private Selection (or Kroger depending where you are) is pretty darn good too, especially the double vanilla, vanilla bean, and country vanilla.

          1. re: Emme

            While I heartily agree with your choice of Private Selection Double Vanilla, I (respectfully) fail to see any irony.

            1. re: Root Beer Slim

              i find irony in the preferences across chain markets of their generic brand ice creams over the pricey gourmet ice creams, some even that come in a can!

        2. Vanilla is probably my favorite ice cream flavor. My big-name, commercial picks depending on what you're looking for:

          1) Double Rainbow (from SF; I buy at Trader Joe's): rich, custardy, strong vanilla essence; perfect for pie a la mode

          2) Ben & Jerry's: medium body and texture; medium vanilla flavor; perfect for a sundae

          3) Breyer's (vanilla bean): more water content so lighter, but vanilla bean flavor is good; perfect for rich choc. dessert

          4) Haagen-Daz is good but I wouldn't serve alongside dessert; prefer it plain w/ fresh raspberries

          5 Replies
          1. re: Carb Lover

            Since you mentioned Haagen-Daz, I'd like to mention the best vanilla ice cream flavor of all time, which no longer exists (and hasn't for at least a decade):

            Haagen-Daz Honey Vanilla.

            This was back when Haagen-Daz was more popular with the health-conscious types for some reason, so it had both this flavor and carob, both of which were very good. Now, the only companies that make flavors like this really are in the health food business, and most of them taste terrible.

            Incidentally, if anyone *has* seen the Honey Vanilla flavor more recently, let me know. I'd be interested to find out about it.

            Neat factoid: one of the most expensive non-luxury items I encountered in China is Haagen-Daz ice cream. It costs around 35 yuan, or just over 4 bucks. To put that in perspective, a nice filling meal at a decent restaurant will cost you 30 yuan. They do have a few Chinese-inspired flavors there. I had the lychee flavor, which was nothing to write home about.

            1. re: FunnyYetTasty

              Yeah, this is my all time favorite ice cream flavor. Haven't seen it for years. Sad sad sad. Oh how I wish I had tried the carob--never saw it though. I've been jonesing for carob lately but all the carob I see out there has corn syrup or something corn-derived in it. (corn = food allergy)

              The Double Rainbow is okay for general-purpose ice cream (plain, with toppings, etc.). I prefer Breyers old-fashioned style (has like three ingredients), which is the only thing out there that tastes like homemade (well the way I remember it with the cranking and the rock salt); it is better for things like apple pie and the like.

              1. re: FunnyYetTasty
                Boris Carlitov

                Two of my favorite flavors as well. I've been hunting for a replacement for years...


                1. re: FunnyYetTasty

                  Have you had Haagen-Dazs latest new selection - Honey Bee Vanilla... I hated it because it was so heavy on the honey flavor, and I don't like honey, but if you like B&J's Honey Vanilla, definitely give the new H-D version a go.

                2. re: Carb Lover

                  Love love love Breyer's vanilla bean. The best IMHO.

                3. Other than my own home-made vanilla ice cream, I like Ben & Jerry's "Best Vanilla Ice Cream in the World," but only if it's hand-packed at one of their stores. Truly wonderful.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Tom Steele

                    I agree, although I've had no problems with the freezer case version either. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who ate boring old supermarket ice creams.

                    Also, if you're on a budget, Breyer's is not bad, IMHO.

                    Someone else mentioned Edy's. I'd recommend against it. I think that Edy's ice cream just doesn't turn out creamy enough.

                    1. re: FunnyYetTasty

                      I don't care much for the Edy's (Dreyer's is the same, no?) ice cream in the big round tub, but their Dreamery line (which I believe has a plain vanilla flavor) is pretty good IMO. Similar characteristics to the Ben & Jerry's version, if I recall correctly.

                      As I said below though, I think the specific brand one chooses really depends on the type of dessert one pairs with the ice cream (like food and wine pairing). I'm personally that obsessive about my ice cream...

                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        I share your obsession. Vanilla is the best flavor for me, and I would choose it over any other. I like Edy's Dreamery a bit better than Haggan Daz or Ben & Jerry's, because the vanilla flavor is not as harsh to me. However, I don't like that ultra rich style of ice cream with cakes and pies, etc. For me Bryers is a bit too sweet and icy. I like the whole foods 365 brand, which I can buy in New York. Sometimes I even prefer a supermarket vanilla ice cream (as long as it uses real vanilla extract -- not with the beans because it seems like those less expensive brands grind up the whole not-so-premium pods instead of just the inside good part). I agree with your assessment of Edys regular brand in the tub. I would also put Turkey Hill in that category. For me, it's a constant search to find the right vanilla. So far, each brand is a bit of a compromise.

                      2. re: FunnyYetTasty

                        Agree that Breyer's vanilla bean is really good if you're on a budget. But if you're a billionaire, Breyer's is still really good. No store-bought ice cream is as good as homemade.