“Wow Ben, you really like your ice cream, don’t you? What’s your favourite flavour?”
This is not a question I take lightly. Ice cream is a serious game. The playing field has changed. The world of frozen dairy has evolved. One cannot simply reply mint-choc chip anymore.
After may weeks of deep thought and soul-searching, I cautiously put together my Ice Cream Top Ten.
10. Kelly’s of Cornwall Clotted Cream
A simple ice cream with no mix-ins and one I put off trying for a while, simply because it looked more boring than a Tesco-brand rich tea biscuit. Cornish ice cream is delicious, no doubt, but not something that’s going to stop me going for a pint with fancy mix ins. How wrong I was. I finally got round to trying a tub and must say it’s probably the best “plain” ice cream you’ll find in any frozen isle. Never gets sickly, it’s the creamiest of cream flavours with perfect smoothness. I’d love to see another ice cream use this as a base, but I wonder it might ruin the simplicity which is part of its appeal. Or you could just do like me and throw it on your warm apple pie or sprinkle crumbled up cookies on top!
9. Maxibon ice cream sandwich
The only ice cream sandwich on this list and another favourite from my youth. If I was going for a frozen treat from the freezer box of a local beach kiosk, these were always my go-to. Crunchy chocolate on one side and delectably soft cookie on the other. They cropped up some time in the late 90’s and must’ve made a few fans besides me because they’re still a common sight today. I swear they’ve gotten smaller though!
8. “Mr Whippy” Vanilla
Wait, what? The clichéd soft vanilla served from generic ice cream vans up and down the country? Surely not! Well, I’m a sucker for nostalgia and while I haven’t had one in an while, a Mr Whippy ice cream cone is permanently etched in my rose-tinted glasses as being one of the biggest delights of my childhood. Bringing back memories of sitting on seaside walls with my family, this might have been where my love for frozen treats began. Still delicious as it was back then, somehow it makes the customary Cadbury flake stuck on top taste even better.
7. Ben and Jerry’ Half baked: Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream mixed with Globs of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough & Fudge Brownies
A classic Ben and Jerry’s flavour you’ll probably be able to find in most supermarket ice cream sections. This one cherry picks some of Ben and Jerry’s best mix ins – cookie dough and chocolate brownies – then smashes them together with a vanilla/chocolate combination base. Only reason this isn’t higher is that there’s a bit too much chocolate flavour going on here for my tastes and it can be a little overpowering, but if you’re a chocoholic this’ll probably be the equivalent of frozen crack for you.
6. Oreo ice cream cones
An odd addition to this list, especially considering Oreo aren’t exactly known for their ice cream manufacturing. Essentially Oreo’s version of a Cornetto, I was blown away by just how good these are (especially considering the Oreo ice cream sandwiches are disappointingly so-so). The vanilla ice cream is surprisingly light, they’re generous with the amount of crushed Oreos stuffed in and the chocolate wafer cone makes the perfect edible container for this treat. By far the best Oreo-spin off food item I’ve tried (sidenote: I still need to get round to trying their cheesecake).
5. Häagen-Daz’s Cookies and Cream : Pieces of rich, chocolaty cookies are dunked in creamy vanilla ice cream
Häagen-Daz’s slightly posher equivalent of Cookie Dough, is actually completely different in both texture and flavour. The cookie pieces (which are effectively Oreos), are crumbled up super small, so you’re always getting plenty in each spoonful. Again, that smooth Häagen-Daz vanilla base really shines here, complimenting the tiny cookie crumbles perfectly.
4. Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough: Vanilla Ice Cream with Gobs of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
One of Ben and Jerry’s oldest flavours. It’s reliable, you’ll never struggle to find it in the ice cream isle. It’s appeal to me is in its simplicity. That strong Ben and Jerry’s vanilla base mixed with their fantastic cookie dough chunks, it rarely disappoints (though admittedly I have had a few pints where it seems they’ve skimped a bit on the mix ins). There is pretty much always a pint of this stocked in my freezer.
3. Häagen-Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake: rich and dense New York style cheesecake with crunchy pieces of biscuit, swirls of strawberry sauce and cheesecake ice cream.
After ice cream, cheesecake is probably my favourite food. Love making it, love eating it even more. Not surprising then that a cheesecake-based ice cream lands in my top 3. I wish more companies would attempt cheesecake ice creams. Ben and Jerry’s have apparently made multiple (strawberry cheesecake, cheesecake brownie and the mythical-sounding cookies and cream cheesecake core), but alas these flavours seem to have all remained State-side. Until our local Waitrose sorts its act out, Haagen-Dazs reigns supreme with this awesome flavour.
2. Ben and Jerry’s Sofa So Good: Caramel Ice Cream with a Salted Caramel Swirl, Chocolate Brownies, and Chocolate Cookies
A relatively new addition to the Ben and Jerry’s line up, and one I hope sticks around. Caramel ice cream by any other company would be surely be too sickly, but Ben and Jerry’s caramel base somehow walks that line and manages to have just the right amount of caramel swirl without becoming overpowering. Throw in plentiful amounts of soft chocolate brownie and cookie chunks and you have the best of every world.
1. Ben and Jerry’s Baked Alaska: Vanilla Ice Cream with Marshmallow Swirls & White Chocolatey Polar Bears
The most underrated Ben and Jerry’s flavour of all time and in my opinion the closest thing to frozen perfection in pint form. The marshmallow swirls were legendary and you got gigantic white chocolate fricking polar bears generously stuffed throughout your pint. I like my ice cream simple, (usually with just a couple of mix ins) and lean towards vanilla/white chocolate/cream flavours. This had the perfect mix of everything. Plus, it has bears – freaking bears – in it!
Crushingly, this flavour was discontinued in 2015 and I’ve been yearning for it to make a comeback ever since. Ben and Jerry’s teased it by having it as number 1 in their most missed flavours on their website, so I live in constant hope.