We know ice cream around these parts. We rank it, we re-rank it, we list it, we locate it, and we hunt down deals for it. We even recognize its many eclectic flavors in a blind taste test, and when summer rolls around, we celebrate our favorite sweet treat early and often.
Today, we’re looking at new ice cream flavors you can find on store shelves (or have shipped online) that will help make your Summer of ’17 the best summer ever.
Do you remember when you first discovered Baskin & Robbin’s “Peanut Butter Cup” flavor? There were three questions that immediately came to mind:
- Why has the universe kept this deliciousness from me?
- Why doesn’t real peanut butter taste this good?
- Why isn’t there a flavor where the peanut butter to chocolate ratio is reversed?
This new dairy-free sorbetto from Talenti seems like a direct effort to answer question #3. It’s peanut butter ice cream that tastes just like the peanut butter ribbons from B & R, except that the peanut butter is running the show. It’s the pinnacle of childhood wish fulfilment, and it’s spectacular.
When fellow Oregon ice cream makers Salt & Straw took off a half-decade ago, Tillamook was quick to notice. Just a hundred miles from the famous creamery’s home base, the upstart brand was proving that ice cream flavors can be just as sophisticated as those of food or beer.
Being a grocery store staple doesn’t allow Tillamook to get quite as wild as the Salt & Straw crew. Still, they’ve been dabbling and experimenting over the years. They’ve also been playing with varying milk fat content and churning speeds. The result of those experiments seems to be this new series of Special Batch pints, which move into the space occupied by Salt & Straw, Häagen-Dazs, Talenti, Ben & Jerry’s, and other prestige brands. The Frosted Carrot Cake isn’t as savory as Salt & Straw would make it and that’s a good thing in this case — the sweetness of the carrot fits ice cream well, the spices add a layer of complexity, the walnuts offer texture, and the ribbons of cream cheese frosting remind us of why we always ate the top of our carrot cake first.
Talenti is superb at knowing what ratios to add flavors in. This is just the right amount of peach swirl, just the perfect hit of cinnamon, and a nice little crunch from the biscuit. It’s not insanely sweet, nor is it overloaded with add-ins. It’s balanced and the combo makes sense — which is probably an indicator that there’s a real pastry chef behind these flavors.
Those points aside, the mouthfeel for this one (and really across the brand) is superb. Usually this smooth, non-icy texture is because of a high milk fat content, which we have no bones against. Combine the texture and the flavor profile and this Talenti offering just might be the most “likely to be served at a trendy new-American restaurant” flavor that money can buy.
Here’s the thing about ice cream with less sugar and milk fat: It’s going to taste less sweet and creamy. Considering that those are the two pillars of the entire dessert, getting people on board with lo-cal ice cream is tricky. Halo Top — the upstart brand with the funny ads that’s taking the world by storm — is about as close to awesome lo-cal ice cream as anyone has gotten.
Still, it’s an imitation of the real thing which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t — with Lemon Cake being a prime example of where the Halo Top recipe succeeds best. We’re used to getting lemon in icier, less-silky sorbets, so we don’t notice the difference in mouthfeel, and lemon is a powerful flavor that can handle being tart, so the lack of sugar is no problem. The result is a spectacular flavor that is legitimately low-calorie without losing any of its mojo.
Blue Bunny’s flavors are on the sweet side, and if you’re into that sort of thing they’ll please you greatly. This flavor combines two things that should be combined more: toffee, brownies, and ice cream. The toffee is actually more like a caramel, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty. What’s exciting here isn’t the inventive flavor so much as the texture, which is spot on, and the childhood nostalgia that this classic-seeming new flavor inspires.
The title — which riffs on the saying “Keep calm and carry on” — might not work, but this flavor certainly does.
Hot take as to why:
More ice creams should be malted, because malted icecreams are delicious (and “malts” will alway, always be better than straight milkshakes, come @ me!). Combine that with shortbread cookie bits for texture, fudge flakes, and caramel swirl and you have a huge win. Ben & Jerry’s is notorious for over-complicating flavors, but this one is straight forward and spot on.
Hearing every chef on Chopped pronounce “mascarpone” as “mars-capone” is annoying as hell, but the cheese itself is delicious and bright. Pair that with balsamic-glazed figs (which wisely taste more figgy than balsalmicy) and you have a superstar flavor. It’s upscale and sophisticated, but still sweet enough to engage people who are turned off by ice cream’s savory trend.
Häagen-Dazs is the best in the business at creating delicate, nuanced flavors and this is a new star. It’s tangerine curd, shortbread cookies, and vanilla ice cream. Balance-wise, that’s a dream flavor: sweet and tart but straightforward, with a nice textural element.
Don’t expect this one to hammer you over the head. It’s a flavor that you have to let sit on the tongue in order to fully appreciate.
Most lemon ice cream is tart, but this isn’t that. It’s not meant to be sour, it’s more rounded, creamier, and balanced. This isn’t “pucker your face” lemon, it’s “bask in the sun” lemon. As such, it’s just about the perfect summer flavor, with blueberries adding the right sweet notes.
Salt & Straw is the king of savory flavors, but this isn;t that. Instead, it’s a testament to how good lemon ice cream can be if someone takes the time to make a proper curd to use as a flavoring agent. Translation: It’s bomb AF.
Maybe people didn’t know how to do banana ice cream right a few years ago. Or maybe we were all still collectively hung over from all the fake banana flavoring of 90s candy. Whatever the case, banana ice cream is so hot right now — with virtually every brand featured in this piece rolling out a flavor or two. This is the best of the bunch: It highlights banana’s savory side and uses it more as a base than as a primary flavor. After all, how do you compete with salted caramel, impact wise?
For anyone who remembers the foul-tasting banana Runts, this probably looks odd in theory, but the combo is pure bliss in IRL.