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BEST PACKAGED ICE CREAM

Please nominate some brands or flavors for best packaged ice cream. Small maker or large, odd flavor or normal, let me hear your choices. When l used to teach a food course, one class was on ice cream. On that night everyone would bring their favorite, homemade, artisinal, or commercial and we would pick. At that time Haagen Daaz rum raisin won three years running. Let's see what is new (or old ) out there.

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  1. I really like Ben & Jerry's chocolate. It's dense and chocolatey. Biggest problem? Finding it. No one seems to stock it regularly. Then again, maybe it's better that way.

    1. Blue Bunny peanut butter cup ice cream is really great...our other favorite is
      Publix fried ice cream (which is like cinnamon ice cream) was fabulous but I haven't seen that particular flavor in a long time...drat...we also love Publix mint choc chip ice cream.

      1. I haven't really tried many of the newer ice creams.

        Pretty much stick to Häagen-Dazs vanilla when buying packaged ice cream, but have given that up too because it's become too expensive.

        My real favorites were all taken off the market: Edy's Dreamery Vanilla, Cashew Praline Parfait, and Blue Ribbon Berry Pie.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5010...

        1. If it's going on a pie, cobbler, etc, I like Haagen Daaz vanilla bean. If I'm having it by itself I'm all about Ben & Jerry's Imagine Whirled Peace.

            1. re: beevod

              Edy's +1--the Slow churned light ice cream in Vanilla Bean isn't half bad either.

              But overall if calories don't count, Haagen Daaz Vanilla.

              1. re: iluvcookies

                Not sure what Edy's put in their slow churn, but the few times I've had it, I've had stomach cramping. Never experienced such except with some soft serves.

            2. If you include gelato, I'd definitely nominate Palazzolo's mascarpone caramel pistachio. I'm not sure how widely available it is, but our local wine and cheese shop carries it, and it's absolutely heavenly.

              1. Ciao Bella Belgian Chocolate.

                1. Ciao Bella.

                  HD where they have not compromised the ingredients.

                  B&J has declined; it's simply not what it was, but it trades on a long half-lived reputation. For now.

                  1. B&J's Dublin Mudslide is awesome, as is Haagen Daaz Chocolate raspberry truffle. Yum!

                    1. I would marry Turkey Hill if I could. Any flavor.

                      1. I don't know if it is sold country wide, but if you can find it, Tillamook Ice Cream is fantastic - any flavor. I highly recommend trying it if you can get it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: boyzoma

                          Another Oregon dairy: Umpqua's Bordeaux Cherry is more addictive than crack, fortunately for my waistline is is only available twice a year.

                        2. Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond is my favorite, although there are many other HD and B&J flavors (Cherry Garcia anyone?) that can compete with it. Both have been around for awhile. For sundaes, a good base is provided by Edy's vanilla or our local supermarket's Vanilla Bean.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: DonShirer

                            Blue Bell and Blue Bunny, in that order. Blue Bell is the only ice cream in the country that has not sold out their half gallon sizes, and is excellent. Blue Bell is also very good, but is a sell out, along with the others.

                            Ciao Bella still has a pint and is very good, so they trump Haagen Dazs, which is also a sell out.

                            The other sell outs rated in order of decent, not good: Turkey Hill, Breyers, and Edy's. I judge by French Vanilla, and Edy's is disgusting.

                            If all else fails, David Lebovitz's Vietnamese coffee ice cream (no cooking!) wipes the floor on all the packaged, sell outs and otherwise.

                            1. re: DonShirer

                              OK, I would normally say hands-down Haagen Dazs (not too sweet and also a great mouthfeel) but I just opened a pint of Vanilla Swiss Almond tonight and thought it was rather disappointing. First time that's happened to me with HD -- there just wasn't a good vanilla flavor to the base and it didn't have that richness I expect from HD. Could I have gotten a bad pint?

                              Otherwise...HD's peanut butter brittle, chocolate peanut butter, rocky road, butter pecan...well, haven't had a flavor I didn't like until tonight!

                            2. Blue Bell Southern Hospitality. One of the best flavors around.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: swamp

                                "Southern Hospitality" will be produced by Blue Bell exactly as it was proposed, as a mixture of Blue Bell's flagship flavor Homemade Vanilla with crushed pineapple, roasted pecans and a strawberry sauce swirl."

                                Wow.

                                I sure do wish they stocked their ice cream north of the Mason-Dixon line.

                              2. Ben & Jerry's Mission to Marzipan is great and like nothing else I have tried before. If you have ever had Kransekake, imagine it as ice cream.

                                Their vanilla is one of the best as well.

                                1. Chocolate

                                  Godiva Belgium Dark Chocolate
                                  Dove Unconditional Chocolate

                                  Vanilla

                                  Newman’s Own Obscene Vanilla Bean (they discontinued manufacturing ice cream, it was actually packed by Ben and Jerrys, but there are rumors that they may bring it back ala Paul Newman’s wishes, if so this the best store bought Vanilla Ice Cream I have ever had.
                                  Dove Beyond Vanilla (Yes it has the Dove Ganache on top but the Vanilla Ice cream is excellent.)
                                  Haagan Daz Vanilla

                                  Stand out Ice Cream’s

                                  Baskin-Robins Chocolate N Peanut Butter
                                  Blue Bunny Cinnamon
                                  Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet
                                  Ciao Bella Chocolate Hazlenut Gelato
                                  Godiva Raspberry Dark Chocolate Truffle
                                  Greek Gods Chocolate Fig
                                  Haagan Daz Bailey’s Irish Cream
                                  Haagan Daz Carmelized Pear and Toasted Pecan
                                  Haagan Daz Mango Sorbet
                                  Haagan Daz Rum Raisin (but you already mention this one)

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                    If you know where to buy Godiva, you need to share it! This is a desperate crowd! The general 411 on Godiva is that they went out of the ice cream business.

                                    1. re: mnosyne

                                      They did in NY. The Godiva white chocolate raspberry swirl was to die for. They are no more here.

                                      1. re: mnosyne

                                        That could very well be, I have been traveling extensively since Sept 09 (the joys of retirement) and if they did get out of the ice cream business then the ice cream world has suffered a loss. [sob :( ]

                                        1. re: RetiredChef

                                          It's a fact. Go to Godiva.com and search on ice cream.

                                          Gone. A stupid corporate decision, apparently. Gone for about a year, IIRC. I sought out the white chocolate raspberry pints (a pint, can you imagine?) when I found out they were no longer making ice cream, and bought them all up. They're all finished. :(

                                          A big loss.

                                    2. Green & Blacks vanilla....seems to be defunct however, can no longer find it in stores here in southern California. I may write the company to get the story.

                                      1. Haagen-Daaz caramel cone for me. Cherry Garcia remains a strong second, though.

                                        1. Mövenpick Vanilla Bean -- Almost tastes like it has a liqueur of some kind in it. The vanilla flavor is really marvelous. Had it once at a restaurant in HK and now seek it out...

                                          Straus Dutch Chocolate -- Made with high quality dairy (Straus)...it really takes the intensity of the chocolate to balance the richness of the cream. But this is perfect.

                                          Don't like Ben & Jerry's. More of everything is not always better. It's so rich it's unpleasant to eat and digest. Bleh.

                                          1. Haagen Daaz Rum Raisin!!!

                                            HD is one of the few still left that hasn't added junk, extenders, gums, etc. to their product. Even B&J's jumped the shark after Unilever bought them.

                                            1. Vanilla: Julie's Organic Vanilla Ice Cream. To me it's the perfect vanilla ice cream -- such a pure flavor, not too sweet, you can taste the cream, not overpowered by vanilla extract (tastes more like the vanilla flavor from vanilla beans). Chocolate: Lalloo Deep Chocolate Goat's Milk Ice Cream.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: ninrn

                                                I, too, am a fan of Julie's Organic Vanilla Ice Cream.
                                                their chocolate flavor, is, imho, not as good.
                                                very best is are the ice cream sandwiches that Julie's makes with chocolate wafers and vanilla ice cream.
                                                the sandwiches normally can be found at sprouts, whole foods, and, on occasion ralphs.
                                                normally sprouts has the lowest price.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  I agree...Julie's Organic Ice Cream Sandwiches are very good!

                                                  1. re: venezuelan

                                                    another delicious brand is the Three Twins brand of organic ice cream.
                                                    i love the Mocha Difference flavor (which is coffee ice cream with semi-sweet chocolate chips)
                                                    my daughter is a fan of the Vanilla Chocolate Chip flavor.

                                              2. When I lived in New Jersey, I made regular trips to Halo Farms in Ewing. Their home-made ice cream was amazing and dirt cheap. My personal favorite was chocolate with peanut butter mixed in. My second was Chocolate Heath Bar Crunch. OHhhhhhhhhh......it make my eyes roll to the back of my head--it was that good.
                                                Nowadays, I don't really eat ice cream but there is a great gelato place in Philadelphia that has the best pistachio gelato. Yum!

                                                1. For fresh tasting vanilla, I always try to find Bryers. I find it fluffier than Haagen Dazs with a softer vanilla flavor....though Trader joe's isn't bad either.

                                                  1. At the risk of eliciting boos from the crowd for a mass market selection................ my wife has recently decided that Dreyer's Slow Churned Chocolate Chip is REALLY good. These days a $3.99 half-gallon on sale is nice to have around. Looks to me (from the package pics on the Edy's website, that these are the same company (like Best Foods and Hellman's I'd gather).

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                      Yes, Edy's and Dreyer's are the same company.

                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                        Love Dryers slow churned caramel - really good - 1/2 the fat and calories. A great treat.

                                                      2. As a fan of vanilla, I can vouch for Costco's house brand - very dense, very rich.
                                                        Blue Bell's "homemade vanilla" comes in second.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: azveggieguy

                                                          Blue Bell "Natural" Vanilla is made with real sugar instead of HFCS.

                                                          Check the labels. A lot of Blue Bell flavors are still made with sugar, (but most are not).

                                                          1. re: DoobieWah

                                                            Funny you should mention that - I recently bought some BB homemade for the first time in a while - read the ingredients list, balked momentarily at the hfcs, but bought it anyway. There's something about the flavor I find really appealing, a back-of-the-mouth taste that's midway between a natural and a french. But the bottom line is, the Kirkland is better; I read somewhere that it's from the same people who make Double Rainbow. Best vanilla I've had since Breyer's was made in Philly.

                                                          2. re: azveggieguy

                                                            I'll vouch too. for Custard Vanilla that is.
                                                            Penn State Creamery's is still the best ice cream (as opposed to custard).
                                                            Try one of their vanilla milkshakes, if you're ever up that way, you won't regret it!

                                                            1. re: azveggieguy

                                                              That Homemade Vanilla made me say no more Blue Bell. It was thin and icy, really lacked flavor and substance.

                                                              1. re: azveggieguy

                                                                Yes, Kirkland brand vanilla is pretty much the only ice cream I buy. It is AMAZING - better than Haagen Dasz vanilla by a mile, and less than a quarter of the price.

                                                              2. It's amazing to me that the new ice creams are better and better. I recently had Celesti Gelati sour cream ice cream and my head practically exploded. Now, I just finished a portion of LA Creamery Salted caramel, and again, WOW! Keep 'em coming!

                                                                1. Love Haagen Daaz Pistachio, Cookies & Cream and Vanilla. Just discovered a new brand - Talenti that makes gelatos and sorbets that are out of this world. So far I've had the Black Cherry Gelato, Belgium Milk Chocolate Gelato and the Blood Orange Sorbet and they are really good stuff - maybe a little too good:-)
                                                                  More flavors here http://www.icecreamsource.com/Talenti...

                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                  1. re: EM23

                                                                    At $8 a pint (on sale?) they'd better be good! Talk about an expensive indulgence! But I guess it's all relative. I'll happily pay $25+ for a good wine (that's $16 or so a pint). NEVER MIND! ;o)

                                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                                      Whoa! I didn't notice the prices on that webpage. I paid in the $4 - 5 range for it IIRC and have found it on sale for a bit less still. I kind of wish it did sell for $8 retail - then I wouldn't be so quick to give in to the temptation.

                                                                      1. re: Midlife

                                                                        I find the Talenti goes on sale regularly at our local grocery for $4 or so. I had the Double Dark Chocolate, and it was great. Hmmmmm, Blood Orange Sorbet.....sounds delicious.

                                                                        1. re: tracylee

                                                                          Just got the caramel sea salt tonight - on sale for $3.99. Good, not great. Kind of a weird, too- smooth consistency. I may try Talenti again, but not this flavor. Blood Orange Sorbet sounds good.

                                                                          1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                            Blue Bell is the best!!! My favorites are coffee and triple chocolate. But since I no longer live in Texas and they don't seem to be bringing it into Las Vegas yet I settle for gelato at different places around town or BaskinRobbins chocolate mint, my favorite since I was a kid.

                                                                            1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                              If you live near a Sprouts Market they are currently selling Talenti pints (on sale until Wednesday) at $6 for 2 pints. There is a local brand in southern California called Delicieuse which is very good, but pricey. It's about $16 for a quart, but it's top notch. The owner is an american gal who was engaged to a french guy and lived in France and learned ice cream making there. They ended up breaking up and she resettled in Redondo Beach in California It's only sold at few other places around here Surfas a professional cooking supply place and (I think) Whole Foods. http://icedreamonline.com/ I've heard Graeber's which I believe is a midwestern brand is a very fine custard style ice cream. Never had the privilege of trying it. I know you can order it online, but it becomes a very pricey proposition since the shipping costs get pretty enormous.

                                                                              1. re: Feed_me

                                                                                "I've heard Graeber's which I believe is a midwestern brand is a very fine custard style ice cream."

                                                                                Do you mean Graeters?

                                                                                1. re: ahack

                                                                                  Greaters from Cincinnati. Love the stuff.

                                                                        2. re: EM23

                                                                          do they really cal it " Belgium" instead of Belgian ? I've noticed a number of companies have fallen into this adjective mistake. Another is Belgium Waffles and so on. This is just another example of people who flunked Language Arts or English.

                                                                          I was working for a large grocery chain as a Home Economist available in the store to help people who had questions about nutrition, food preparation etc. The store had just opened and they were still finishing up with signs that indicated where certain items could be found. I came down stairs, out of my office space and found one of the people working on that project. He had orders from corporate to put up Styrofoam letter for the so called gourmet food items. I looked at what he was doing and said, no. That is not right. The corporate office had given him the plan. He had just finished and what he put up was "Gourmet,s". In his major Uni. town (Bloomington-IU) would not do. The sign guy looked at me and said "well we all cannot be literate."

                                                                          I had to call t5he corporate offices and fax proof that I was correct. I still shake my head over that one. Yes I do have a picture. I just have not scanned it into my pictures file.

                                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                                            My mistake, Candy - it is 'Belgian'. And I have not had it since writing that post more than two years ago, so an update is in order - Haagen Daz Pistachio and Cookies & Cream still rock my world.
                                                                            I recently tried the Trader Joe's Vanilla (I think it was "super premium", or some such) and found it had a weird texture. And I bought the TJ's Coffee and Chocolate flavors for my aunties, and they didn't like either - sticking with the HD.
                                                                            ETA - I'm not surprised about the "corporate" spelling issue.

                                                                        3. Just read a report that Trader Joe's chocolate was wonderful, tried it, really perfect chocolate ice cream and $ 4-5 a quart.

                                                                          1. Just as a point of information, the new Magnum Double Chocolate bars are very nice.

                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mnosyne

                                                                              HELL.YES.on the Dove Magnums...but have you tried the Caramel???? oooooohhhh! NO artificial flavors...in any of the magnums...and they are a little pricey but for real flavors and quality, they are delish...I usually just break off the top 1/3 piece and leave the rest for my son...a little goes a long way for me, just a taste of it is satisfying!!!!

                                                                              1. re: Val

                                                                                My market hasn't got the caramel yet! I look forward to it (drool, drool).

                                                                                1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                  Publix here in SWFL recently offered a $1.50 coupon off the Dove Magnum...all of the caramel variety were *GONE* when I got there...oh, well, the double chocolate, as you said, is most awesome also and that's what we bought!

                                                                                2. re: Val

                                                                                  The Vanila Magnums I bought at my local WalMart were grainy and not very good but the double chocolate was great. All in all I will stick with Dove.

                                                                                  1. re: randyjl

                                                                                    And it's funny, I wouldn't normally buy these, but that day a few weeks ago, I just wanted a box of ice cream sandwiches or something SMALL...could I find anything without artificial flavoring??? Nope, and out of desperation, chose the Dove Magnums. It amazes me how they use artificial flavoring for so many vanilla ice cream-type treats.

                                                                                3. re: mnosyne

                                                                                  You confused me! I just took a look in the freezer: Magnum is NOT made by Dove. Dove is a different brand altogrther! Check it out.

                                                                                  1. re: mnosyne

                                                                                    Magnum made by Unilever

                                                                                    Dove made by Mars.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                        I never paid much attention, but Dove ice cream bars used to be made by a small, neighborhood confectioner named, not surprisingly, "Dove Candies and Ice Cream" (a/k/a "The Dove"). It was located on the north side of Chicago and and made a whole line of chocolates, too. The Dove also made ice cream. People raved about the ice cream and then, one day, the Dove started selling those fantastic ice cream bars. Amazingly, it appears that Mars did not mess with the formula for those ice cream bars. At least, they still taste the same to me as they did back in the 1970s when you could only get them at the store in Chicago.

                                                                                        I had to google this part: the ice cream bar franchise (and, heck, for all I know, the entire operation) was sold to Mars in 1985.

                                                                                      2. re: mnosyne

                                                                                        mnosyne, you are correct....very sorry to put the Dove thing out there...haha! my bad...

                                                                                    1. Cascadian Farm anyone? Their Caramel Swirl is delicioso
                                                                                      Also I will definitley agree on Ciao Bella for Sorbet..and I do miss Edy's Dreamery Blackberry Avalance- though I have never liked Edy's basic Ice creams

                                                                                      1. I really like a good vanilla ice cream. Some people may call me simple but I don't care. :) I really enjoy Bryer's Vanilla Bean and because I like to support local companies, I like Purity Dairy Vanilla. I will have to say that Edy's Slow Churned French Silk is quite addictive and I always try everyone's version (Purity, Mayfield, etc.) of Moose Tracks.

                                                                                        1. Wegmans "Premium Brand" ice creams are pretty awesome.

                                                                                          Favorites include dark chocolate, and the newer flavors "Under the boardwalk" and "Cherry licious".

                                                                                          Graeter's mocha chocolate chip, although I find the texture of the actual ice cream kind of weird. Those chips are monstrous, though, and the flavor makes up for the texture.

                                                                                          Still looking for a great pistachio.

                                                                                          1. High Road ice cream; my fave is Aztec Chocolate and Caramel, but I also love their Mango Chile Lime and Red Berries and Prosecco sorbets.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Nudibranch

                                                                                              I just read about High Road for the first time today. I was thinking about tracking it down locally but the NJ spots are really slim. Looks like online ordering is the best way to go for us east coasters.

                                                                                            2. Perhaps it's because we have so many dairy bars, etc making their own ice cream in this area, but the only packaged ice cream that I'd purchase again are Brigham's vanilla and Ben and Jerry's (Willie Nelson) peach cobbler. Otherwise, why bother, unless perhaps it's in mid winter when many of the locals are closed.

                                                                                              1. Tropical Dreams Tahitian Vanilla. Sold in Hawaii (and a few mainland locations) but will ship with a minimum of 6 pints. Rich, creamy and full of delicious vanilla flavor. No gums, no fillers...just goodness.