Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: Haagen Dazs "Coffee" Ice Cream

Everyone has a favourite go-to product, be it a specific variety of shampoo, a tried-and-tested laundry detergent, or your favourite brand of shoes. When it comes to ice cream, my go-to flavour over the years has always been Haagen Dazs Coffee ice cream. Truthfully, my go-to is actually the half fat version of this flavour, but since I moved away from Vancouver I have not been able to find it in a local grocery store. Haagen Dazs really has done a great job making the half-fat version almost indistinguishable from the full-fat.

While I cannot drink coffee more than once in a while because it does not agree with me, I really love the flavour of it, and this flavour is captured perfectly by Haagen Dazs in their coffee ice cream. This is an uncomplicated product that doesn't try to do too much, and everything it does do is done to an exceptionally high standard. With only five ingredients, this ice cream does not mess around with mix-ins, sauces, or swirls. It is the ideal balance of coffee, cream, and sugar, all put together with a texture that is velvety smooth and creamy (seriously, the texture of this is just divine).

The reason there is no photo of the ice cream itself? I couldn't stop eating it before I could get around to taking a picture! It really is a struggle for me not to polish off the full 500ml in one sitting. Haagen Dazs is pricey, yes, but for this flavour I would gladly pay double. This is simply coffee, perfected.

Recommend to a friend? Heck yes
Repurchase? As long as they make it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Western Family "Ultimate Raspberry Jubilee" Frozen Yogurt

After a quick poll, seems like a number of people wanted to see a frozen yogurt review, so today we present to you this review of Western Family Classics Ultimate Raspberry Jubilee Frozen Yogurt, the house brand of Save-On-Foods. I feel that I need to preface this review by saying that, unlike some other bloggers, I really appreciate a true yogurt taste in frozen yogurt. You know, that tartness, that tang that is reminiscent of real yogurt. However, I realize that not everyone appreciates this, and that many people go to frozen yogurt over ice cream because of the fat content. So I will try to put my prejudice aside for this review and judge it as a dessert, not according to my yogurt bias. :)

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a time should remember our Chapman's Raspberry Sorbet fiasco. You can probably understand why, when I opened the carton and saw this colour, I was a bit apprehensive. The "raspberry ribbons running through ... raspberry flavoured frozen yogurt" were evident, and I was somewhat comforted by the fact that this did not have the distinct odor of kool-aid that the aforementioned sorbet possessed. Overall the texture of this was soft, and while it was evident that some stabilizers and gums were used, it wasn't noticeably gel-like. 

I am still not 100% sure of where I stand on this product. Every time (and I mean every time) I begin to eat a serving of this, I think to myself "Geez, this is awful, why did I start this again?" But then about three bites in I think "This isn't half bad, I could keep doing this" and by the end I am left wanting more. Seriously, this happened every time I ate this through the entire carton. It's totally bizarre, and makes me wonder what kind of crazy drugged raspberries were put in this thing!

I will start by saying that I feel like the ribbon, as far as taste is concerned, is fairly unnecessary. This yogurt errs on the sweet side and the ribbon threatens to push it over the top on occasion. Well, that and it just doesn't wow you in terms of flavour: pretty nondescript, and I think making it slightly more tart would have added another dimension to this product. The yogurt itself is, again, sweeter than I would want for a frozen yogurt (oops, sorry, was trying to keep my bias out of this!) but not offensively so. On first bite (here goes that weird effect again), it tastes not entirely natural, but as you continue to eat it the flavours of real raspberry do come through. So even though this calls itself "raspberry flavoured", I would say they did a good job of capturing the flavour of the fruit (unlike some others I could mention). Overall, the flavour of this product reminds me a lot of a raspberry jam. And I mean that in a good way. Is this really the "ultimate" raspberry frozen yogurt that the name suggests? No, not by a long shot, but it's still a good product.

Recommend to a friend? If you're not expecting a totally true-to-life but still natural-tasting raspberry frozen yogurt, and don't have my tart yogurt preference, I'd definitely recommend this.
Repurchase? This doesn't fit my vision of frozen yogurt, but given that I was always left craving more (for some strange reason), I could see myself buying this again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Avalon Dairy Certified Organic "Mocha Fudge" Ice Cream

Those readers who are in BC know that things are tense right now between BC public school teachers and the provincial government. Without getting political, we at Two Girls, One Scoop would just like to say that we love teachers. And so we would like to dedicate this review to the teachers in our lives (and there are a LOT).

But which flavour to choose to reflect the educators we know? Sure, we could go traditional and do something apple-related, but when was the last time any kid put an apple on a teacher's desk? Finally, we realized that most teachers would not be able to get through all their lessons, prep, marking, and extra-curriculars without coffee. And so we present to you, teachers and non-teachers alike, this review of Avalon Dairy's Certified Organic Mocha Fudge ice cream!

For British Columbians, especially those in the south, Avalon Dairy has been a mainstay for over 100 years. They take a very traditional approach and still package and deliver their milk in glass bottles. While they take dairy products seriously, milk is their big seller and their ice cream is distinctly hard to find. I was lucky enough to find a very small selection of their ice creams at the local Fairway Market, and snagged the last Mocha Fudge.

After reading through the ingredients, I can confirm that everything in this ice cream is indeed certified organic, so for those of you that take organics seriously, this may be an option to pursue (particularly since a lot of the organic frozen desserts around here tend to be non-dairy). This product also calls itself "premium ice cream" and carries a price tag to match: a whopping $9.99!! Will it live up to the quality implied by both the label and price?

The flavour of the ice cream itself is a well-balanced coffee flavour that is neither too strong nor too sweet, and tastes natural. I was expecting the ice cream to have both coffee and chocolate flavours, as mocha would normally have, but it seems they are kept separate in this case. The fudge swirl is also a good level of sweetness, but it has that sort of flat, syrupy taste that you often find in chocolate soy frozen desserts. It's not bad, but it's not that great either. Kind of meh. I feel like the coffee would have stood up well on its own.

While the flavour is fine, the texture of this particular pint was not pleasant. Again, like a non-dairy dessert or a low-fat ice cream, this has a very crystallized consistency. Now, there could be several reasons for this, and I tend to believe that, because of the price tag and lack of a big brand name, this container may have sat around in the grocery store freezer for a LONG time, probably near the door, which is continually getting opened, thus messing with the consistency of the temperature. This may have led to the crystallization of water within the ice cream. However, you would think that a "premium" ice cream such as this would have a high enough fat content that this could be avoided for a most part. Overall, the texture made this experience a bit of a disappointment.

Recommend to a friend? If the texture was improved, and if you are a die-hard organic food purchaser, this might be something to consider?
Repurchase? No - the price tag was too rich, and the product not rich enough.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Ben and Jerry's "Milk and Cookies" Ice Cream

After seeing some rave reviews about this product on other blogs and websites, I was pretty excited to give this Ben and Jerry's flavour a try. And I was certainly not disappointed. This stuff is like cookies n' cream on steroids!
The part I enjoyed most was the dark cookie “swirl” which felt to me like a ribbon of crushed up oreo cookie pieces. It had a nice crunchy texture and pleasingly chocolatey taste to it, and it made a nice contrast to the chewier pieces of chocolate chip cookie dough. The cookie dough pieces had a good flavour that pervaded through most of the ice cream, and it really did remind me of raw cookie dough – and since I spent a lot of time eating raw cookie dough when I worked in a bakery at a grocery store chain that will remain nameless, I have a pretty solid reference point. :) Because the cookie elements of this product were fairly sweet, I also appreciated that the vanilla ice cream provided a cool and refreshing “neutral” background.
Overall, I liked this flavour a lot. It had a really nice balance of flavours, textures, and sugar levels, and I think it's a really interesting and successful take on a cookies n cream/cookie dough hybrid.

Recommend to a friend? Definitely
Repurchase? Yes – this one is worth the price tag

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: The Udder Guy's "Wild Blackberry" Ice Cream

Back when we tried The Udder Guy's Roasted Coconut flavour, we were so impressed that we couldn't wait to sample another one of these locally-made concoctions. But what to choose? I was leaning heavily toward the coffee flavour, but J and I decided to go for the Wild Blackberry flavour, as it seems even more local, and at the time of our tasting the last blackberries were still just barely pickable (and J made sure to sample them from the bush by our driveway whenever she had the opportunity).
That little anecdote should give you some idea of how long ago we actually tested this ice cream! OK, so this review has been many months in the making, and the blackberry bushes now would be lucky to even have any leaves on them, but time has not altered out opinion of this Cowichan Bay product!
Do not adjust your monitor! Yes, this is exactly how pale this ice cream was: almost grey. We were really hoping for a bit more colour, to give this ice cream a real punch, but it looks about as exciting as the DMV. The colour problem is really due to not enough fruit, and unfortunately this problem persisted to the flavour of the ice cream as well.

The Udder Guy, we are disappointed! When we read "Wild Blackberry" on the label, we expected to find more than one or two in our bowls! Yes, fruit is expensive, and wild blackberries, or blackberries or any variety really, would be difficult to procure in bulk. But this ice cream also carries a premium price tag, and one expects a flavour to match. Instead we got a flavour that actually tasted more like blueberry than blackberry. And even then, it was more like "blueberry flavour" than actual blueberries. If you've ever gotten Special K blueberry flavour, or had granola with little dried blueberries in it....that is what this tastes like. Again, we were really disappointed.

In order to compete with brands like Haagen Dazs - which it does in this market, as it shares a similar container size and price - the quality has to be the same, if not better. The Roasted Coconut flavour was bomb, but this really falls flat. Rather than capturing the essence of Vancouver Island blackberries, this product, in both colour and flavour, makes you feel more like you're eating blueberry wallpaper paste.

Recommend to a friend? Not sure who would enjoy this. Maybe people who like really bland things...
Repurchase? No

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Island Farms "Original Moose Tracks" Ice Cream

After all this time we're super behind on reviews and the queue of products seems to be a mile long. However, I feel that it's about time 2G1S did a review of one of my favourites: Islands Farms Original Moose Tracks Ice Cream.

It's no secret that I love this stuff. As you may have gathered from the reviews of Lucerne's Nuttin' Better and Haagen Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter, I kind of like peanut butter and chocolate. A lot. A lot. And this product is the beginning of my love affair with that combo in ice cream form. Now, Moose Tracks is not an Island Farms creation by any means, but here in BC, it is marketed under this brand. And there are now a boatload of different Moose Tracks varieties and flavours to choose from. However, the original will always be my favourite: awesome in its purest form.

This product consists of "vanilla flavoured ice cream with peanut butter cups and famous Moose Tracks fudge".  In my most recent carton, some of the fudge was overblended with the ice cream in places, resulting in spots that looked like they contained chocolate ice cream as well (as you can see in the photo). The fudge ribbon (for lack of a better term) is richly chocolatey and sweet (but not overpowering), melts easily in your mouth, and it is balanced well by the vanilla. The peanut butter cups are small, but there is a generous distribution of them, so the peanut butter flavour is never lacking. Overall, this is a well-done, tried-and-true variation on the peanut butter and chocolate theme that never fails to please in this neck of the woods!

Recommend to a friend? Absolutely
Repurchase? Of course - this will always be a delicious standby

Monday, February 6, 2012

We're back...almost!

Hi everyone!

Some of you may have noticed that we haven't updated in quite a while. Unfortunately we experienced some computer issues that required a repair...and then when that was done, something else went wrong and we had to send ye olde laptop in for repair again. We're still in the process of transferring some of our old files back to the computer (had a complete hard drive wipe), but we should have a new review up within the coming week.

Thanks for your patience! :)