If you want giant gallon tubs of passionless, boring, and machine produced ice cream, you can hit up almost any store. But, if you’re after quality, locally produced ice cream in small batches, you’re going to have to look around a bit harder. Lucky for us, the search wasn’t difficult because Whole Foods invited us to their Greenwich store to pick out any 5 flavors we wanted to try. Would we go with all the same flavors like Vanilla and do a comparison or would we try the boldest and most creative flavors that we could find from local producers? While it was tempting to do a flavor comparison, we thought it’d be killer to highlight some interesting flavors. But, to be honest, we felt sad leaving so many other flavors behind in the freezer section. We left, sad, speaking to each pint indivudually, telling them we’d be back to get them and wouldn’t let them stay in the freezer…no ice cream left behind is our motto.
Well, let’s go on a tasting of five unique flavors that caught our attention:
Strawberry Ricotta by Steve’s Ice Cream: Brooklyn, NY (moved from Holbrook, Long Island)
Steve’s started off being made on Long Island, Dan’s old stomping ground. We’ve had many of their flavors, but our favorite is their Strawberry Ricotta. The contrast here is just amazing and that’s key. You get the fruity semi-sweetness of the strawberries and get ribbons of ricotta that add a creaminess and richness that is–frankly–orgasmic. Kristien literally moans every time she eats this. Their other flavors include Mexican Chili Chocolate, Bklyn Blackout, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Coconut Key Lime Pie, Nola Iced Coffee & Donuts, and even dairy-free options like Blackberry Honey, Cinnamon Coffee, and Mint Cacao Chip.
Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet by Ciao Bella: Florham Park, NJ
If you’re looking for a healthier choice that won’t pack in the calories but still has a great punch, this is your sorbet. We’re talking 110 calories for 1/2 cup or 385 for the entire pint. The sorbet is sweet at first from the blackberry (first ingredient, btw), but then finishes off with a refreshing tartness. The wine also adds a nice depth to this sorbet. Really excellent. Their other sorbets and gelato flavors include Passionfruit, Triple Espresso, Dulce de Leche, Pistachio, Mango, Peach Ginger, Lemon Zest, and Blood Orange.
Kulfi Pistacho Cardamom by Adirondack Creamery: Kingston, NY (Hudson Valley)
What can you say here? The one-of-a-kind flavor profile will probably lead to either a love or hate relationship. While Kristien didn’t like it, Dan couldn’t get enough. Before you even try the ice cream, the pistachio wafts through the air and entices you to try it. The ice cream itself is very creamy and the cardamom definitely comes through first as you taste. The pistachio adds a nice flavor and texture contrast. Check out some of their other flavors like U-Pick Em Cherry Chocolate Chip, Earl’s Chocolate Peanut Butter, High Peak Perk, Barkeater, Whiteface Mint Chip, Pumpkin Pie, Peppermint Stick, and even Egg Nog.
Ginger Ice Cream by Van Leeuwen: Brooklyn, NY (Began in Greenwich, CT as an ice cream truck)
While we’ve had ginger ice cream, Van Leeuwen’s definitely stands out from the rest. Our major gripe with ginger ice cream is that it’s usually pretty weak and lame. Look, if we order ginger ice cream, we want to taste the ginger. You definitely get that with this, though the flavor doesn’t go overboard. They are able to tame it down just a bit by using early harvested candied ginger. The ice cream is sweet, buttery, and super creamy. The ginger flavor comes through and spikes when you get the good chunky bits of ginger that are throughout the ice cream. Other Van Leeuwen ultra-premium flavors include Espresso, Currants and Cream, Ceylon Cinnamon, Gianduja, Earl Grey Tea, Palm Sugar, vegan Chocolate or Vanilla, and special batches of Sweet Sticky Black Rice, and Salted Caramel with Buffalo Trace Bourbon.
Banana Whama by Phin + Phebes: Brooklyn, NY
If you love bananas, this is definitely your jam. The fresh banana flavor hits you first, but then you get a nice mix-up with the vanilla wafer cookies. They add a nice little crunch and flavor contrast so that you’re not totally overwhelmed by the banana. Because they use banana puree, this ice cream doesn’t become overly sweet. This made us big fans of this ice cream. Again, a very unique flavor that we can say we’ve never had before. Try out more flavors like Coconut Key Lime, Ginger Cookie Snap, Vanilla Cinnamon, Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel, and Peanutty Pretzel.