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Old 04-28-2020, 12:36 PM
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premium ice cream vs regular ice cream, whats your view


I normally only eat the regular ice cream, the stuff that is $2-4 for a 48 oz tub. Its good but generally only a couple flavors stand out.

yesterday I decided to get some blue bell vanilla and talenti. Both tasted decently better than the stuff I normally get but who knows how much of that is just wishful thinking.

With Biden and Pelosi spending $14 a pint on Jenis ice cream (too expensive for my tastes personally but to each their own) it made me wonder if I'm missing anything by skipping the more premium ice creams.

I tend to skip the pints so no real experience with ben and jerrys, haggen daaz (are those premium brands?) and I usually just get the 48 oz tubs (walmart brand, breyers, turkey hill, edys, etc) when they are on sale.

But anyway I'm wondering, I've only tried blue bell twice. It costs 2x as much per ounce as the cheaper stuff but it tastes better. Talenti is 3x more expensive per ounce (when its on sale) but the stuff I tried yesterday is the best Ice cream I've ever tried. I read talenti caramel apple pie is the best flavor so I'll pick that up next time I'm out.

Do other people notice a meaningful difference in ice cream quality based on price?
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:44 PM
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The premium ice creams often have less air mixed in, so they are much thicker. (Even scooping it is tough, so I've even broken spoons trying to do so.) And the butterfat content is higher.
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:48 PM
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Life is too short to ever eat substandard ice cream. Premium or super-premium or I don't eat it at all.
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Old 04-28-2020, 12:53 PM
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There is definitely a difference in flavor. The generic stuff often has ice crystals in it and is just bland. I think Edys/Dreyer's is a decent lower price ice cream, so usually opt for their "slow churned" versions if I'm looking for more than a pint. There are two ice cream food carts in our neighborhood, both of which make it on-site. One does ice cream and the other does gelati. The ice cream place charges $12/quart, last time I checked.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:07 PM
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Life is too short to ever eat substandard ice cream. Premium or super-premium or I don't eat it at all.
Gelato blows them both out of the water IMO.

In any case, your point is well taken; I've quite an aversion to "meh" foods. Whatever I eat, I like to look forward to it with much relish ( seriously, no pun intended ) and savor it all I can. Eating is not just a mere body function.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:11 PM
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We rarely eat ice cream. A pint a year, or maybe two pints at the most. So, no reason not to buy the good stuff.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:12 PM
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We've begun eating gelato again lately (Hey! These are uncertain times!) so we always get Talenti if it's on sale, but last week it was Ben & Jerry's on sale, so we're trying that. It's pretty righteous.
Back in the days when we ate ice cream, we'd eat a big old bowlful with syrup and nuts, but now that we're eating the good stuff, we only have a few spoonfuls. I think we get six servings out of a pint of gelato.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:15 PM
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Gelato blows them both out of the water IMO. . .
Yes.

Also every time I try to eat the mass-produced ice cream, I get an upset stomach. You'd think it was just the high fat content, but when I eat gelato or some fancier ice cream, I have no trouble. (I have the same problem with grocery store sheet cakes.)

There must be some kind of weird emulsifier or additive to the big half-gallon containers of store ice cream.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:15 PM
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Breyers gelato is actually really good and fairly reasonably priced
https://www.breyers.com/us/en/produc...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:21 PM
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I generally just like chocolate flavor (boring I know).

I can taste a real quality difference from lesser brands vs Bryers. Bryers just has more chocolate flavoring.

I don't have much experience with higher priced brands, but like most products, there is diminishing returns. The higher you go, the quality improvement tapers. At some point it is all personal taste and other elements (advertising, conspicuous consumption, etc).
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:22 PM
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The best ice cream I've ever eaten was coconut flavored ice cream made by an elderly woman who cranked her ice cream by hand at Friar's Bay beach on the French side of St Martin.

She got a ride to the beach with a cooler of ice, her ingredients, and her ice cream maker. She set everything up under a palm tree, sat on a small boulder, and cranked, taking breaks only to smoke an occasional cigarillo.

She spoke no English, but my gf was able to chat her up in French. We hung out with her as a small crowd formed. When her ice cream was ready to serve, she put out a coffee can with a slit cut in the lid and began dishing out heaven.

There was no set price, people just stuffed whatever dollars or euros they thought was right. When the ice cream was all dished out, she cleaned up her stuff and loaded up. Unbeknownst to me, we had offered her a ride back to Marigot, so we took her home.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:23 PM
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I like a really good Vanilla ice cream, Breyers is just barely good enough and is better than most others. I can never find Ben&Jerry's Vanilla, Blue Bell and Haagen Dazs are ok. A couple of local ice cream shops have very good quality vanilla, better than any grocery store brand I've had.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:26 PM
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I remember eating a lot of gelato while in vacation in Europe and I do not remember tasting a big difference. It seemed to be about the same as good quality ice cream.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:31 PM
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Life is too short to ever eat substandard ice cream. Premium or super-premium or I don't eat it at all.
Same here. The good stuff made with better ingredients and nice and dense.
My son had some left-over cheap Blue Bunny ice cream the other day that I tried. Terrible. So much air it was like eating artificially flavored frozen fluff.
When you get to this age you simply don't waste your empty calories on junk.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:39 PM
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Chocolate is the best, so why eat anything else?

Ice cream being one of the essential food groups, one should never settle for inferior quality. That said, paying more than $5 for a pint is obscene...though sometimes necessary. Assuming price is no hang-up, I would recommend the Coolhaus line. I have only tried Chocolate Molten Cake, but based on that, I would otherwise have no hesitation about their other flavors. As befitting a superior product, it is not always easy to find.

If you live near a Kroger-owned market, their Chocolate Ganache ice cream is most satisfying. I will, in fact, be having some in the extremely near future. In recent years, I have only seen it in the 48 oz. tub variety.

In the absence of either of the above, I found Tillamook Mudslide a surprisingly agreeable replacement. They have a number of other flavors I have never seen, let alone tried.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:42 PM
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Like with all things, there's diminishing returns at higher price points. There's a huge difference between the cheapo ice cream and the premium ice cream. There's a small difference between the premium ice cream and the super ultra deluxe $20 ice cream.
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Old 04-28-2020, 02:25 PM
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Old 04-28-2020, 02:34 PM
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Like with all things, there's diminishing returns at higher price points. There's a huge difference between the cheapo ice cream and the premium ice cream. There's a small difference between the premium ice cream and the super ultra deluxe $20 ice cream.
That's what I was going to say as well. Blue Bell is pretty much the 80th percentile, and while they go up from there, the price difference between say... Blue Bell and one of Graeter's, Haagen Dazs, Coolhaus, etc... is high, and the differences are much less significant.

Personally, I stick with Blue Bell most of the time; it's a local Texas brand that's been around a long time and is super-common everywhere. There's little point in trying to hunt down some super-premium brand that's potentially been indifferently handled, if I can get fresh Blue Bell virtually anywhere that sells ice cream.
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:07 PM
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I remember eating a lot of gelato while in vacation in Europe and I do not remember tasting a big difference. It seemed to be about the same as good quality ice cream.
What appeals to me about it is the texture. Smoother and denser somehow...pudding-ish maybe.
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:18 PM
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The cheaper brands may not be ice cream at all but ice milk, having no or little cream in it.
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:40 PM
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The cheaper brands may not be ice cream at all but ice milk, having no or little cream in it.
If it's labeled 'ice cream' it has minimum butterfat requirements. Doesn't mean actual cream was used, but it has more butterfat than ice milk.
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:28 PM
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I'll eat low-cost ice cream, but there's nothing on earth like a pint of Ben & Jerry's Caramel Sutra. So freaking tasty.
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:36 PM
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It’s “sometimes” unfortunate that we live three blocks from a Culver’s ..their frozen custard is marvelous.
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:10 PM
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didn't blue bell get caught in some e-coil scandal a while back?

The one I've always wanted to try is magnum just to see if it's worth 4.00 to 6.00 for an ice cream bar ..... they have a chocolate-coated cherry one...

I tried Ben and Jerry's years ago and I thought it was pretty good but not with the fortune places wanted for it ... now there just another brand they've gone down a bit .....
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Old 04-28-2020, 05:33 PM
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This thread's given me an idea. If I bought really good ice cream, or better yet, custard*, I could be happy eating less of it. A small bowl of The Good Stuff could be just as satisfying as the OP's 48oz tub.

Watch for me on Oprah with my new... Ice Cream Diet!

It's like my bandmate who, while the rest of the band was doing Jager-Bombs, would drink nothing but single malt scotch, because then he "couldn't afford to get drunk".


*ETA: a shout out to Culver's. We've been SO good during the lockdown, but Culver's being open has been tempting...

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Old 04-28-2020, 05:36 PM
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If it's labeled 'ice cream' it has minimum butterfat requirements. Doesn't mean actual cream was used, but it has more butterfat than ice milk.


Does any company produce “ice milk” anymore? I haven’t seen it since the late 70s. Perhaps when Haagen Das (perhaps the first mass-marketed premium ice cream in the U. S.?) came out the contrast was too stark.


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Old 04-28-2020, 05:47 PM
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I still see it in "store " brands and in the "healthy" freezer section occasionally I've seen soy versions of it
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:30 PM
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I guess I gotta go back and try Blue Bell again. I never thought of it as anything other than run of the mill brand like all the others.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:39 PM
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Life is too short to ever eat substandard ice cream. Premium or super-premium or I don't eat it at all.
+1. This for me, too.
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:44 AM
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Here's the thing - good desserts and shitty desserts have the same amount of calories more or less. If you're going to invest the calorie cost of the food, then eat a great version of that.

For example, I think sugar cookies are some weird ass thing that shouldn't exist. It's like someone purposely tried to construct the most amount of calories into the least amount of taste and enjoyment into a food. Why would you spend 1000 calories eating a bunch of sugar cookies when you could spend that same 1000 calories eating some really good cookies?

Same deal with ice cream. Get the good stuff, cherish the experience, make the calories worth it. The "what's the most I cheap crap I can get for this money" is a bad philosophy to apply to treats.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:54 AM
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I am a cheap-ass. No way around it.
I can't eat very much icecream because of the carbs and sugar.
My favorite thing in the world(besides corndogs from Sonic) is cheap store brand icecream sandwiches. The cheaper the better.

DIL found me some Bluebunny, low sugar, low carb. Bunny Trax, It was just 'okay' for the price. I wouldn't buy it again.
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Old 04-29-2020, 07:16 AM
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I tend to buy coolhaus. As others have said, texture and flavor is better. I do agree that it's diminishing returns, and that I probably don't get 3x the enjoyment out of it, but what does that matter? If I'm eating ice cream I'm treating myself, I want it to feel like it.
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Old 04-29-2020, 08:02 AM
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Yes.

Also every time I try to eat the mass-produced ice cream, I get an upset stomach. You'd think it was just the high fat content, but when I eat gelato or some fancier ice cream, I have no trouble. (I have the same problem with grocery store sheet cakes.)

There must be some kind of weird emulsifier or additive to the big half-gallon containers of store ice cream.
Your culprit may be carrageenan. It's a thickening agent made from seaweed, and it causes digestive issues in some people. I used to think that I had a weird lactose intolerance that only happened with ice cream, but a friend with Crohn's made an offhand comment about it being one of the things she was told to avoid, and a lightbulb went off. I performed a series of scientific* experiments on myself (*I ate Ben & Jerry's, cottage cheese, and drank hot chocolate, all of which contained carrageenan, and had instant "results") to determine if that was the cause. I avoid it entirely these days, and the issue is gone.

Just the other day I got some cottage cheese with my online grocery order, and forgot to check the ingredients until I was putting the groceries away. Maddeningly, it had carrageenan and it went straight into the trash. :/

For the OP: life is way too short to eat mediocre food.
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Old 04-29-2020, 08:03 AM
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I'm no gourmet but I definitely want ice cream some grade above the cheapest. For a while, buying two packs of Bud's Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream was on the list whenever I made the 2½-hour round trip to the Big City. Nowadays Wall's Choco Nutty Crunch is sometimes available at the local 7-Elevens and I make do with that.

I'm afraid I'm humiliating myself by suggesting that Bud's or Wall's is a premium grade, but they're definitely better than the default cheap stuff.

A related topic is chocolate candy. I don't mind indulging myself on some of the chocolate bars available in grocery stores, but, boy!, a box of See's chocolates was a real treat! And on rare occasions I've indulged at shops that sell chocolate for about $5 a piece. Wow! So delicious!! However do they make those chocolate candies so splendidly special??
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Old 04-29-2020, 08:28 AM
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I'm happy with non-premium, but after tasting Graeter's ice cream on a trip to Ohio, I could definitely tell the difference. I'd say it's worth paying for, though I doubt I'd actually do so on a regular basis if it were available to me at home.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:06 AM
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Haagen Daaz and Ben & Jerry's go on sale frequently enough that they are usually between $2.50-$3.50 per pint.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:10 AM
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The one I've always wanted to try is magnum just to see if it's worth 4.00 to 6.00 for an ice cream bar ..... they have a chocolate-coated cherry one...
The Magnum ice cream bars I've found in Safeway aren't that expensive; about four or five bucks for a box of three or four bars. So roughly a dollar or so each bar.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:57 AM
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didn't blue bell get caught in some e-coil scandal a while back?
It was Listeria. They cleaned up their act and have been operating ever since.

I'm not saying that Graeter's and the others aren't better than Blue Bell, but that Blue Bell is 80% of the way to the "ideal" ice cream, and that you pay progressively more for smaller increases in quality toward that ideal.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:07 AM
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Does any company produce “ice milk” anymore? I haven’t seen it since the late 70s. Perhaps when Haagen Das (perhaps the first mass-marketed premium ice cream in the U. S.?) came out the contrast was too stark.


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I've not seen "ice milk" in some time, but last week I was tricked into buying a tub of "frozen dairy dessert". The brand was Bryers and I'd assumed it was ice cream, but no, read the fine print from now on.

It wasn't as bad as some low end ice cream I've had, such as Turkey Hill. That's nasty stuff. Way too much over run.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:15 AM
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My high school /early college jobs were at Baskin-Robbins. So I got accustomed to really good ice cream. Most stuff from the store just can't compare. Although Blue Bell and Haagen Daaz are better than most. I really haven't tried anything else that might be considered a cut above. Bryers used to be good but the last few times I tried it, it tasted like crap. Seriously, no better than Turkey Hill.

One thing I've noticed is that the really cheap ice cream doesn't actually melt. Instead, it just sort of turns into a thick gummy mass. So gross.

Last edited by divemaster; 04-29-2020 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:16 AM
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It’s “sometimes” unfortunate that we live three blocks from a Culver’s ..their frozen custard is marvelous.
I'm with you! I love, love, love their chocolate custard. I don't want anything mixed in it or topping it. Just a cup of chocolate custard.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:18 AM
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I've not seen "ice milk" in some time, but last week I was tricked into buying a tub of "frozen dairy dessert". The brand was Bryers and I'd assumed it was ice cream, but no, read the fine print from now on.

It wasn't as bad as some low end ice cream I've had, such as Turkey Hill. That's nasty stuff. Way too much over run.
I haven't seen anything labeled as ice milk for a long time but I think there are a lot of "frozen dairy desserts" that would qualify. Worse, some might not even qualify to be called ice milk (assuming there is some standard, like it must contain some actual milk).
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:29 AM
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I'm not a huge ice cream fiend. Store bought, I'll usually pick Talenti.

But the best ice cream I've ever had was from Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, Maine. So good, it puts most gelato to shame.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:35 AM
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Homemade tm brand ice cream is my new crack. Funnily enough, it seems that the flavors that appeal to me the most are seasonal, like Peaches & Peaches, or Santa's Cookies. Fun fact I learned from reading about Ben & Jerry's: Legally, a manufacturer can advertise their product as "homemade" only if it contains strictly ingredients that might be found in a household. So no cargeenan, no guar gum, no nonsense additives. Mr. Rilch is adamant about not eating any ice cream that has more than the bare minimum of ingredients. Which mostly means Haagen Dazs. Which I find boring, because I like a lot of mix-ins. Although H-D has a new sideline (pints only) of liquor-based flavors, such as rum raisin.

As for chocolate, there's a Russell Stover outlet store in one of the nearby shopping centers. I've been fretting about that ever since the announcement that the O was permanently closed. I don't get to the Burgh that often, but I'm at Russell Stover constantly: holiday chocs, bulk candy, bloopers, premium chocolate, and ice cream. If l lose that...
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Old 04-29-2020, 12:50 PM
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I’m with cmkeller and Quicksilver.. I’m not so much into the $$$ premium grocery store brands as I am into the local small town homemade product, which almost always uses good fresh ingredients. Like, the “premium ice cream” of 1925.

I’ve been to Country Maid Ice Cream in rural Richfield, Ohio...not TOO rural, an easy drive from both Cleveland and Akron...and to ice cream makers all over New England, which I consider the ground zero of great American ice cream. Mt. Desert Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, Me., is excellent, but so are the old timey guys who’ve been around for decades.
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:13 PM
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Costco's Kirkland brand vanilla ice cream may be the best vanilla I've ever had. Smooth but hard like good ice cream should be. I used to make my own using the Ben & Jerry's recipes but there's really no point to do so if you can buy something better that requires less work and probably costs less overall. If only they'd make a couple more flavors, I'd never need to crank up the ice cream machine again.

Well, maybe I'd get it out for salted caramel gelato. But that's it.
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Old 04-29-2020, 01:22 PM
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It wasn't as bad as some low end ice cream I've had, such as Turkey Hill. That's nasty stuff. Way too much over run.
Publix once came out with a store-brand Peanut Butter Swirl. Their store brands of other items are good, so we tried it out. It was the worst ice cream I've ever had. I mean the kids wouldn't eat it.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:28 PM
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Ice Cream brands are like gettin' a Blow Job. Even the bad ones are still pretty good.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:58 PM
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It was Listeria. They cleaned up their act and have been operating ever since.

I'm not saying that Graeter's and the others aren't better than Blue Bell, but that Blue Bell is 80% of the way to the "ideal" ice cream, and that you pay progressively more for smaller increases in quality toward that ideal.
Blue Bell is about the best, 'store-brand' ice cream going. No, it's not a grocery store's officially branded ice cream. But it's about the same price and size as those.

For those of you talking about Blue Bell, and therefore probably in Texas, see if you can find Bellefontaine. When she first started selling it, at Central Market in Houston, it was the best Mint ice cream I'd ever had. Staggeringly minty and rich. I think the quality may have gone down a touch with wider distribution, but the mint ice cream is really, really good.
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Old 04-29-2020, 11:27 PM
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Location: Dallas, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray Ghost View Post
Blue Bell is about the best, 'store-brand' ice cream going. No, it's not a grocery store's officially branded ice cream. But it's about the same price and size as those.

For those of you talking about Blue Bell, and therefore probably in Texas, see if you can find Bellefontaine. When she first started selling it, at Central Market in Houston, it was the best Mint ice cream I'd ever had. Staggeringly minty and rich. I think the quality may have gone down a touch with wider distribution, but the mint ice cream is really, really good.
Haven't seen that before. I'll keep an eye out. There used to be a New Orleans-based ice cream company that they sold at Central Market in Dallas that was spectacular, but I haven't seen it in a while.

For GOOD ice cream/gelato, the place to go is the San Crispino gelateria in Rome- it's about a block north of the Piazza della Rotondo (square in front of the Pantheon). That stuff was insanely good, and we tried pretty much every gelateria we ran across in Rome, Florence and Milan, including GROM and Giolitti.
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