Taste Test Series: What’s The Best Vanilla Ice Cream?
I grew up in a world where Summer nights consisted of Tillamook Vanilla Bean ice cream.
Alone, or most likely atop a staggering pile of my mom’s homemade peach crisp. Other nights it’d be buried in to a blender with fresh peaches, milk, and ice which my dad would serve to us in milkshake glasses. (I still deem that one of his most famed recipes). Nonetheless, our Summers had vanilla ice cream involved. I love a hefty scoop after dinner on a sunny day, but every time I stop at that aisle in the store, I find the decision making process hard to come by. Sometimes I go for dairy free, or no sugar added, and while those are great (for my gut), I still crave a classic. There are endless choices anymore. And each time I try a new one, I’m always amazed by its creamy, vanilla-forward, sweet taste. So how could I ever choose the best one? The answer: a taste test of course..
I recently called over my dear neighbor and her girls (because they’re the real judges here) and we set out for a vanilla ice cream taste test. (A new series I’m stoked about on the blog). As we ran our spoons into each bowl, letting the cold cream melt on our tongues, we sat and critiqued. Of course, between a few extra scoops here and there. You have to be sure, right? So the complete panel consisted of myself, Sam, Kelley, and her two daughters, (little) Sam, and Sophie. Their commentary took me by surprise. Differentiating the “artificial tastes” or Sam, being able to tell which one was Lopez with his eyes closed. (Surprisingly- he still didn’t choose that as the winner). But there was one brand that just barely made the top, by a smidge of one point.
How We Tested:
I lined up the bowls, filled each one with a well-rounded scoop, and we tasted them one by one. After each taste we judged three major components. It’s creaminess, vanilla-forward taste, and sweetness level. Although we couldn’t test all of the vanilla ice cream’s the grocery store had to offer, I decided to stick to the major brands which I usually find. Of course none of them disappointed, but it was love at first bite for three of us on who the true winner was. Are you curious already? Scroll on to see our results..
#1, The Winner, McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream
The vote: 3 to 2. Myself, Kelley, and Sophie voted McConnell’s for the overall winner. “It has the perfect balance of smooth cream to vanilla, the all over flavor is there.” Said Kelley. “It doesn’t go overboard on either.” Little Sam voted McConnell’s 2nd place on her poll. Big Sam voted McConnell’s 3rd on his.
The vote: 4 to 1. We all agreed Lopez was up there, but it was still a close second. The only factor making it second was that there wasn’t the same amount of vanilla taste as McConnell’s. We all agreed it was perfect in creaminess, and sweetness, but still not the balance that McConnell’s quite had.
#3, Alden’s Organic
The vote: 3 to 2. “The flavor is there, just a much more subtle flavor of vanilla than all the others.” Said Kelley. Sophie, Little Sam, and Kelley all voted Alden’s number three on the polls. Stating that it was good, but not a large sweetness level. I voted Snoqualmie number three, and big Sam voted McConnell’s.
The vote: 3 to 2. Kelley was shocked that this one ranked far below the others. Going in it was a family favorite, but she confidently booted it to number 4. We all agreed it had a definite cream factor, more than the others- which was delicious. But the sweetness level was below the other three. Sophie, Kelley, and big Sam all voted Snoqualmie fourth on the polls. I voted Alden’s, and little Sam voted Halo Top.
#5, Halo Top
The vote: 3 to 2. Big Sam was the only one who took this taste test blind, and it shocked us all when he voted Halo Top as his number one. When I asked what stood out to him, he said it had by far more flavor and sweetness than the others. Myself, Sophie, and Kelley voted Halo Top number five. Little Sam polled her fifth one in as Snoqualmie. I stated that Halo Top definitely had flavor, but a bit more of artificial taste. You could really tell the difference between the real sugar and not.
Thank you for reading! Were shocked by any results? Comment below for any other taste tests you’d be interest in seeing, and we’ll make it happen..