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Any brands of ice cream similar to Blue Bell that can be found in the Northeast?

I was in Arkansas over Christmas and I had Blue Bell ice cream for the first time and my husband liked both the consistency and the range of flavors they had. Of course, this can't be found anywhere in the Northeast outside a Carrabas or Outback... Are there any other grocery bought brands that come close?

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  1. As a Texan transplanted to DC, I have found nothing here to compare to the succulent creaminess of Blue Bell except maybe Gifford's, but since you seem to be in Boston that won't help you much. I didn't know Carrabas and Outback carried it - maybe I'll track down a manager and beg for some of their supply.

    1. Since we now live about 70 miles from "The Little Creamery" in Brenham I don't worry about it anymore. When we lived in Virginia we either went to Outback or if we really needed a fix we ordered from Bluebell. Bluebell is as expensive as the dickens if you order it from the creamery but it does come overnight. It's $119 for 4 1/2 gallon containers shipped to your door. I've never found any brand that comes close to BB whether it's a store brand or a stand alone ice cream store, Bruesters is close but it still isn't Bluebell.

      Mordacity-If you travel to western North Carolina you can purchase Bluebell confections once you get to Hickory. That area is serviced by the Bluebell creamery in Alabama, No ice cream yet, but BB does make a great ice cream sandwich.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Grillncook

        Hah....Ladycale, you've discovered what I discovered, that Blue Bell is THE single best ice cream in the U.S. Strangely, they don't have an email capability on their website, since I have been wanting to ask them WHAT their delay in coming to the Northeast is. Of course, I won't pay them the outrageous asking price to have it mailed.

        And, did you NOTE that Blue Bell is STILL 64 ounces? I found that fascinating. I wonder how long they will hold out though.

        So, in the interest of science, I've done a survey of pretty much all the ice cream on the market and can tell you that Blue BUNNY (funny, no?), which is carried in WalMart in the South, is as close to Blue BELL as I've found.

        It has, however, been reduced to 48 ounces by the crooked suits, and goes by a regular price of $6.+ when not on sale, which is not very often. In addition, I only find it in Pathmark and A&P.

        Now, Blue Bunny is NOT Blue Bell, but it beats out Turkey Hill, Breyer's, Edy's, Friendly's, store brands, et cetera. The only comparative is in pints, while they're still 16 ounces, and those that compare are Haagen Daz and Ciao Bella.

        Don't bother with the rest, trust me.

        1. re: dolores

          I get Blue Bunny at the Amherst NH Walmart. I love it, never had Blue Bell so can't compare.

          1. re: dolores

            I'd be really surprised to expand northward. Blue Bell is very strict in their ingredients and their quality control. Each truck of milk is tested for butterfat content before it's unloaded and only 2 in 4 are accepted, They own all of the creameries and won't farm out making of their ice cream. Their ingredient list is a very closely held secret, most of the people that mix and package the ice cream don't know what's in it. It's quite fascinating to watch them produce ice cream. It's still packed by hand, because it's the only way that the "Flip Seal" can be accomplished. Each container is filled with ice cream , a lid placed on it, then immediately flipped onto it's lid to seal the container from intrusion of outside elements that could give the ice cream an off taste, and then flash frozen in large freezers kept at around 30 degrees below zero.

            According to the guide when we took the tour of the creamery in Brenham, their limited distribution area is as large as they can have and still be able to control the supply chain to ensure the quality of the ingredients in the ice cream.

          2. re: Grillncook

            Heck yes they do! Those cookies-and-cream ones are unbeatable.

            1. re: mordacity

              About once a month most of the convenience stores in our area run Ice Cream Sandwiches on sale 2 for a buck. It's 8 miles from town to our place, just enough time to eat one. I love going to town. Cookies and Cream all the way home OH YEAH!

          3. Russell Stover Candies hand-scoops and hand-packs Blue Bell in Denver. I don't know if all Russell Stover stores carry Blue Bell though.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Pampatz

              Blue Bell Country is expanding.

              http://www.bluebell.com/The_Little_Cr...

              I've heard Wallmart has it in Charlotte.

              1. re: blewgo

                Blue Bell expanding? Blasphemy I say. I think The Republic of Texas should exorcise our rights and secede from the Union.

            2. I can buy Blue Bell in Dubai, of all places.

              Must be the Texans in the oil industry out here...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Roland Parker

                Interesting, Roland Parker. I guess money can buy quality control.

                The Northeast would be their oyster, though, in my opinion. Just a peek at the Turkey Hill blog is affirmation that there are others out there who are incensed with the great ice cream takeaway of recent years, and so would be happy to pay for a real live half gallon of incredibly delicious ice cream that you can't smash down in an effort to prove 48 ounces isn't even 48 ounces.

              2. Oh man, what I would give to get me some Blue Bell here in Boston. Something I miss terrible since my transplant up here in '03--on a recent trip to visit my parents in Texas, I was at my friend's house having dinner with her incredibly East Texan family. I had tried to explain to them that I am a gastronomy grad student, and when I saw the blank stares just said "I learn about food". Well, once dessert comes, my friend's father, who clearly had no idea what to talk about with this yankee food freak, just looks up and goes "Well you must use a lot of Blue Bell in your fancy cooking school, right?"

                If only!!

                3 Replies
                1. re: stay_classy

                  stay classy, while we wait patiently for Blue Bell to heed the call of the ice cream needy in the NE, have you tried Ciao Bella? True, they charge for a pint what a half gallon (or maybe two) of Blue Bell goes for, but I must say, it's very good stuff. Thankfully, their pint flavors are limited, so I have already gone through them all. Their dulce de leche (sorry, H/D) is outstanding.

                  1. re: dolores

                    Still in the interest of science, and in an attempt to save everyone out there the waste of $7.00 (SEVEN dollars, isn't that hilarious?) for a pint of ice cream, I also picked up Green and Black's ice cream yesterday, for my continuing taste test on the road to Blue Bell.

                    My advice? DON'T BOTHER! Their white chocolate with strawberry swirl is incredibly mediocre and at SEVEN dollars a pint, an abomination. Oh, and when did Guar and Xanthan gums become 'organic', which appears to be their selling point. I don't know if their chocolate bars are equally mediocre, but they've convinced me not to buy.

                    So, while I wait for Blue Bell to realize the gold mine they have just in my house, I will wait for Blue Bunny to go on sale (ordinarily $6.00 for 48 ounces, yes they too have bought into the Turkey Hill lower the quantity and the idiots will still buy it mantra), which it hardly ever does, and go to H/D and Ciao Bella for very good ice cream.

                    Or, make my own Vietnamese coffee ice cream from David's 'Perfect Scoop' book, when I want the real deal.

                    1. re: dolores

                      I have to say that Dolores is spot on! Blue Bell is by far the best Ice Cream I've ever had. For the last year I've lived up north looking for something similar, so I stumbled across Blue Bunny at Concord WalMart. It's very good. And it's on sale for just under $4 right now! :)