Home > Shop > ‘Good, shop-bought vanilla ice cream’

‘Good, shop-bought vanilla ice cream’

Green & Black's Vanilla Ice Cream

‘Good, shop-bought vanilla ice cream’ is a phrase I often stick on the end of a recipe, and I’m not alone, but what does this mean? Vanilla ice cream is a great accompaniment to so many desserts, particularly warm puddings (apple pie anyone?), especially chocolate based ones, is useful for tarting up something shop-bought, and is a great dessert standby all of its own. But, look down the freezer aisle in the supermarket, and there is such a huge variety, what constitutes good?

A traditional (read ‘proper’) ice cream is essentially a frozen custard – a mix of cream and milk, sugar, egg yolks or eggs, and flavouring, and this sort of ice cream is what I would recommend – look at the ingredients, and if they’re mostly dairy, sugar, eggs and natural flavourings, and probably a few other bits and pieces like stabilisers, then you’re on to a winner. An ice cream like this will have the desired creamy texture, and a rich flavour.

Of course, the better ice creams are more expensive. The cheaper ones are likely to have far less dairy, no eggs, unnatural flavourings, and essentially be whipped oil with loads of other stuff in. After all, which sounds tastier, ‘cream’ or ‘partially reconstituted whey protein concentrate and coconut oil’. They are also more likely to be bland and without flavour, and develop ice crystals really quickly in the freezer. Think of it as a good investment – a little more outlay will reap huge rewards, by which I mean a nicer texture, and a better flavour – and don’t think that vanilla ice cream is ‘plain’ or without flavour, because the best ones are far from this.

So, a few recommendations, and of course these are just my favourites and you may have other brands you like. Try a few out, go by the ingredients, and see what you think.

Green & Blacks Organic Vanilla Ice Cream is at the top of my list – it’s delicious. A quick glance at the ingredients list tells you all you need to know – all of the contents seems sensible, and you get a smooth ice cream with the taste of vanilla. (Incidentally, they do more flavours now – try Vanilla Caramel Nut. Go on, try it. Now.)

Ben & Jerry’s Fairtrade Vanilla is another good one. And it’s Fairtrade, so you’ll be doing your bit. And I don’t think there’s a flvaour of their ice cream that isn’t amazing.

Lots of smaller, independent producers make some great ice cream too. Perhaps try your local farm shop. Ooh, and look out for ice creams made with Cornish clotted cream, they’re fantastic. M&S does a good one.

And finally, Wall’s Carte D’Or is nice too. While it breaks some of the ingredients ‘rules’ I’ve talked about above, probably placing it somewhere between cheap ice creams and ‘proper’ ones, it’s a good enough freezer standby, with a nice flavour.

What’s your favourite ice cream?

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