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May 29, 2012

Graeter’s Ice Cream

ooey, gooey ice cream

My friend Abigail is the world’s biggest Graeter’s Ice Cream fan, and talks about it all the time. If you want to make her happy, get her Graeter’s. If you’ve made her sad, all will be forgiven, with the appropriate quantity of Graeter’s.  So when Graeter’s offered to send me some ice cream for review… I threw her an ice cream party.

It actually became party / taste test, with 8 pints in competition, with some mango sorbet to cleanse the palate.  9 of my lovely knitters took up the challenge. The competitors —

Team Graeter’s: Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Chocolate Chip, and the anchor, Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.

the reigning champions

Team Takedown: Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Wawa Black Raspberry Chip, Haagen Dazs Coffee (not shown), and Jeni’s Buckeye State.

the challengers

For a baseline, I asked everyone what their childhood favorite flavors were. Two chose black raspberry chip and one was a pistachio fan.  I was baffled, thinking they were rather adult flavors.  All three said, “it’s because purple/green was my favorite color as a kid.” (Clearly, Maggie Moo’s is onto something with their crazy colors of ice cream.) Other picks: rocky road, 2 mint chocolate chips, vanilla, cookies and cream, anything with chocolate and peanut butter, and the classic twist cone.

In the present day, the tasting was fast and furious, with multiple rounds including toppings towards the end. It would be fair to say that Graeter’s crushed the competition. If you are a chocolate chip fan, you’re going to be in heaven. If you’re not, these chips could change your mind. Graeter’s had smooth, large chocolate chips, with excellent flavor. Haagen-Dazs chips were smaller, chalkier and very crunchy. On the black raspberry, Beth said, “The Wawa ice cream was fine, nice even, before I tasted the Graeter’s.” After tasting the Graeter’s, the Wawa pales in comparison (literally.)

Head to head flavor shots, clockwise from top left: Graeter’s chocolate chocolate chip, Haagen Dazs chocolate chocolate chip, Wawa black raspberry chip, Graeter’s black raspberry chip.

head to head

The winner(s): Graeter’s black raspberry chip! 50% of the knitters picked this as their favorite. Graeter’s chocolate chocolate chip was right behind, with 4 votes.  Jeni’s Buckeye State also got some mentions.  All 3 pints were completely finished.

The instigator: The Graeter’s mint chocolate chip caused the most agitation, with some folks declaring it minty enough to taint an entire bowl, and others declaring it disappointingly under-minty.  (Personally, it was my second favorite after chocolate-chocolate chip.)

The loser: Wawa black raspberry chip. Maybe it was the pale pink hue, or the light smattering of chips, but it’s the one pint that no one went back for seconds from after having a taste.

The big surprises: Who knew black raspberry chip was so popular?  Am I living in an ice cream bubble? Also, people like gummy bears on mango sorbet.

The best news: You don’t eat your ice cream in head to head comparisons very often. So, by the time I get to finishing the remaining pints, they will all taste delicious.  Great ice cream is amazing, but even mediocre ice cream is pretty good.

nora tastes

Graeter’s is now available in the Philadelphia area at Weis grocery stores for, I am told, $4.95 per pint, or online for substantially more.

(Disclosure: Graeter’s provided their ice cream for free. The other ice cream I bought. The opinions are mine or my tasters alone. Opinions of pre-verbal tasters not included.)

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