Today I want to talk about one of my favorite summer things: ice cream. We care deeply about ice cream at my house, and we thoroughly enjoy seeking out the good stuff and enjoying it together. (And, let’s be honest, not just in the summertime.)
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (a big change from when I was a kid), which is fortunate because sometimes I have a tricky time maintaining stable blood sugar. I’m careful about which desserts I eat, and when. That means if I’m going to indulge in a special sweet treat, I want it to be fantastic—and one of my favorite sweet indulgences is a good scoop of ice cream.
And I mean a GOOD scoop. To me, that means great flavor, pleasing texture, and typically a high fat content. (High fat because it’s delicious, but also for pragmatic reasons: a scoop of something rich is relatively kind to my blood sugar, especially when compared to something like sorbet, which I love but need to be very, very careful with.)
To me, good ice cream is a splurge. (If you’ve read Don’t Overthink It, you know what I’m talking about—and you’re probably thinking of that popsicle story right now.) We don’t indulge terribly often, but when we do, we want it to be delicious.
With that in mind, today I’m sharing some personal favorite brands and flavors:
Graeter’s. I live in Graeter’s country (lucky me). This is my family’s preferred destination when we go out for ice cream. My favorites are three seasonal flavors: key lime pie (available only in August, and yes, I mark the calendar), peach (summer), and cinnamon (winter).
Talenti Gelato. I am baffled as to why this brand is consistently quite a bit cheaper than Häagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s at my local groceries, but I’m not complaining. My very favorite is the Coconut Almond Chocolate; the texture and flavor are perfection. My kids also love the Mediterranean Mint.
Häagen Dazs. I mean, it’s Häagen Dazs: it’s all good! My very favorite is their Belgian Double Chocolate Chip, which is very, very much. I hate big chunks of frozen chocolate in my ice cream (yup, even when it’s Graeter’s), but the texture of these teeny tiny chocolate flecks is perfect.
Ben & Jerry’s. Our household favorite is The Tonight Dough, but my kids adore their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. When we’re looking for a change of pace, we might pick up Phish Food or the Berry Sweet Mascarpone, which we bought for the first time by accident but turned out to be surprisingly delicious.
Plain Old Wonderful Vanilla. If we’re buying vanilla ice cream to serve with brownies (Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies, obviously) or pie (like that amazing cherry pie my 11-year-old recently made), we opt for Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean or Blue Bunny Vanilla Bean. If a Trader Joe’s stop is convenient, their premium vanilla is fantastic.
And finally, when we get ice cream out and about, my favorite thing to do is to share an ice cream flight (pictured above, from local spot Comfy Cow) or “split my scoop,” getting two half-scoops that add up to a whole. Not every place does this, but when they do you can enjoy multiple flavors without getting a ton of ice cream. (I recently combined coconut and chocolate gelatos at our local spot Gelato Gilberto. HEAVEN.)
Are you an ice cream fan? If you were to pick up a pint for the weekend, what would it be? Do you have a must-try flavor to recommend? Let us know in the comments section!