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Who Makes The Best Ice Cream?

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Published May 17th 2014
Just the other week my mum was rifling through the freezer, and said to me, 'I have a sudden urge for ice cream'. I knew summer had come. Alas, while the freezer may have been full to the brim, ice cream was in short supply - or to be more precise, we were completely out. This was not surprising seeing as up until recently, it had been too cold for a frozen dessert. But I made a note that on my next trip to the supermarket, I would replenish our stock.

So what should I get? Chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla? If only things were that simple. Long gone are the days when those three flavours were, basically your only choice - although sometimes you could indulge with a rum & raisin, or mint chocolate chip. Now, not only are there hundreds of flavours, there are hundreds of brands supplying them, all of which vary in quality and price.

ice cream van

You can buy anything from a well known brand and a supermarket's own, to something from a speciality dessert bar. Then of course, there is the much loved nostalgic ice cream van that gets kids running out the door when its siren song comes playing down the street. Which is your favourite?

carte d'or, vanilla ice cream
'Light' Vanilla doesn't quite cut it.

My personal favourite flavour is still the plain and simple vanilla, but it has to be made well. A lot of vanilla ice cream looks white, is made with vegetable fats rather than dairy, and uses vanilla 'flavouring'. In other words, it's tasteless rubbish. The best vanilla ice cream is a creamy yellow and dotted black spots, which prove its been made with real vanilla pods. I've tried several versions, including 'light' options, but that won't give you the taste or texture you're looking for. If you want something low fat, eat a frozen yoghurt. Kelly's of Cornwall Clotted Cream is the tastiest and most indulgent.

carte d'or, eton mess
Eton Mess Ice Cream

I also like ice cream with real fruit pieces in it. For that kind, I go for Carte D'Or. My favourite is their Creme Di Mascarpone with red berry sauce, but recently I saw a new Eton Mess Recipe with strawberry sauce and meringue pieces. Definitely worth getting again.

sainsbury's, taste the difference, gooseberry fool ice cream
A frozen gooseberry fool.

Another new flavour I discovered was Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Gooseberry Fool. It is literally like eating a frozen gooseberry fool; it is quite an unusual sensation, and didn't quite sit with me, but Mum was very taken with it, and marked it as 'one to get again'.

If you love chocolate, sweets, or 'out there' combinations, then Ben & Jerry's is probably right down your street, with flavours such as 'Dough-ble Impact' - vanilla ice cream with cookie dough, a 'Baked Alaska' with marshmallow, and a 'Peanut Butter Me Up'.

Then, of course, you might want 'just one Cornetto...'
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