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Oct 24, 2009 02:10 PM

Gifford's Ice Cream: "72% Chocolate Chip" WHAT HAPPENED?!

I've always loved Gifford's ice cream, but the stand out flavor for me was their "72% Chocolate Chip". It was a pitch black dark chocolate ice cream with huge chunks of dark chocolate in it. It was a standard in our house and we got several other people hooked on it as well. This summer I purchased a pint from Rodman's and when I got home and opened it I noticed right away something was different: the ice cream was now more of a mocha color (though still chocolate) and the chips were teeny tiny specks of regular chocolate now. I had hoped it was a one time mislabeling mistake so I purchased two more pints in the coming months: both from Whole Foods locations. Again same issue. It just wasn't the same ice cream. I asked my friends who were also addicted and they had experienced the same thing and were also confused about what had happened to Gifford's *best* ice cream flavor. So have others noticed this change in their "72% Chocolate Chip" flavor or in their other flavors. What on earth happened?!

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  1. I don't remember that flavor, which is unusual since I'm a major chocolate lover. Nor do I recall seeing it on the list at the "real Gifford's" York Castle when I was there earlier this week. Perhaps it was a creation of the "new" Gifford's, or it came along late after I became hooked on Swiss Chocolate and I never bothered exploring much. The Gifford's that you get from Rodman's or the grocery stores (Harris-Teeter and Magruders, among others, carry it too) is from the shop that Joe H. says never had the original recipes, for what that's worth.

    I suspect that it means that the chips are from 72% cocoa solids chocolate, which is pretty serious chocolate.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MikeR

      ^^It used to be a "Serious chocolate" ice cream. But I swear the formula has changed. I don't care if it's from old or new or authentic Gifford's. I only care that they messed up a perfect flavor, you know? Just want to see if others have noticed too - or if there's something odd happening with Giffords?

      1. re: beauxgoris

        Very concerning. I, too, love this flavor, and have not had it in months. Next time I am in their Bethesda store I will ask and post. Let us know if you get the answer first.

        1. re: chicken kabob

          This was not a flavor of the original Gifford's. I'd suggest trying Thomas Sweet's (Georgetown on Wisconsin at, I believe, P street) chocolate chocolate chip which may be similar. If you're ever in Cincinnati Graeter's signature ice creams are "chip" flavors which actually have irregular chunks of chocolate in bittersweet chocolate ice cream. Incredible stuff.

          1. re: Joe H

            Original or not- I want it back-it is awesome!!!

            1. re: chicken kabob

              Years ago a place that contended for the title of D. C.'s best ice cream was Bob's on Wisconsin Avenue just south of Calvert. Today it is called Max's. (Bob's is still on Bethesda Avenue.) But back then their signature flavor was "Super Chocolate." Super Chocolate was dark semi sweet chocolate with chunks of more semi sweet chocolate in it. There, Thomas Sweet, Graeter's and others this is actually a rather common flavor: really, chocolatey ice cream with chunks instead of chips. I'd really suggest trying Thomas Sweet which I think is better than the "new" Gifford's anyway. At Thomas Sweet I think the name of this is "Bittersweet." It is a Great flavor.

              Also, any ice cream that you buy prepackaged is going to have more air in it. The exact same flavor won't taste as good as or have the same texture as it will when its freshly packed. I write this as someone who is obsessed with ice cream and makes it with a 40+ year old White Mountain freezer that I use rock salt and ice in and hand crank.

              1. re: Joe H

                ^^Those do sound good, but I want to know what happened to this beloved flavor! It was like totally changed the ingredients or something. It's NOTHING like the flavor I've been enjoying for YEARS! I too plan to go to one of the Gifford's stores and see if it's the same there and also ask what the heck is going on.

    2. Did you try contacting the company and asking what happened? I'm curious to know what they have to say for themselves.

      1. I find Gifford's to be so medicore. Have you tried it in the store lately? Sometimes the pints are not as tasty as the ones in the store due to packaging and storage level.

        1 Reply
        1. I don't know about the 72% -- which I agree is (or at least used to be) *very* intense -- but the chocolate chip has changed as well. Actually last time I had it, it seemed to be swinging back closer to the original, but both the flavor and style of chips had changed. They're back to shaved chocolate, but it's not as plentiful, IMO.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

            I heard the retail stores had sold, I don't know if this was the reason the product tanked - but maybe so?

              1. re: beauxgoris

                Go to York Castle in Rockville. They have the original Gifford's formula ice cream plus amazing tropical flavors.


                York Castle Ice Cream
                827 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, MD 20852

                1. re: beauxgoris

                  It is sad, but it sure explains a lot, doesn't it?

            1. Wasn't there an article in the Wash. Post yesterday about them getting in some hot water for serving Hood's Ice Cream at Giffords? Maybe I'm misremembering.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ivysmom

                Indeed there was. See the link in beauxgoris' post above.