I did a couple unscientific taste tests lately and don't want to forget my findings! So here they are, in short, on the blog.
Plain Full Fat Yogurts
Nancy's -- the winner, creamy and good yogurt taste. Awesome because this is the only one they sell at Winco; hence the only one I'd be likely to regularly buy AND it's nice and cheap. A wonderful surprise! :)
Pavel's -- brand I'd never heard of found at New Seasons. Second best. Nice yogurt taste, but a bit runny.
Straus -- too tangy. Sour. I know plain yogurt IS sour, but this didn't have balance.
Stonyfield Farm -- kind of gross! Watery. I was surprised because I liked their YoBaby vanilla yogurt in my other test. I also remember having S.F. at a friend's house as a child (various flavors and plain) and they were all way fattier/chunkier with the creamy bits. There's no way this is the same yogurt.
Brown Cow -- eh, mediocre, boring, inconsequential.
Expensive Natural Chocolate Ice Creams
This began after A. and I tried Three Twins Bittersweet Chocolate and thought it was really good! I had to sample more. I was also curious about how the gum and carrageenan content affects flavor and texture. My father-in-law hates the taste (?) of carrageenan but it doesn't usually bother me. I wonder if he'd like to try some of these ones that don't have it!
Snoqualmie Mukilteo Mudd (2 gums, carrageenan, vanilla, no eggs) -- yummy, good chocolate flavor, creamy texture. The only one with no eggs, but this didn't seem to affect anything.
Double Rainbow Ultra Chocolate (2 gums, no carrageenan, no vanilla, egg yolks) -- I liked this one, though the texture wasn't as good as others. The only one with no vanilla. I thought it had a nice chocolate flavor, but A. was unimpressed. Note: it was cheap, so that was good!
Talenti Double Dark Chocolate Gelato (1 gum, no carrageenan, vanilla, eggs, dextrose, vermouth!) -- We had tried this in the past and thought it was great, but this time around, I didn't like it as much. It had a weird taste (from the vermouth?) and also chocolate bits which were distracting and not very melty. So continues my bemusement with gelato . . .
Straus Dutch Chocolate (no gums, no carrageenan, vanilla, egg yolks) -- A. didn't like this one, but it may have been my favorite. The texture was very airy so it felt like "cheap" ice cream (not premium), but the taste was fantastic! It tasted like something from my past . . . Hood ice cream? Something about it made me nostalgic!
Three Twins Bittersweet Chocolate (no gums, no carrageenan, vanilla, eggs) -- very good chocolate flavor and A.'s favorite. I liked it a lot but it was a teensy bit too melty/watery for me.
These were all a tough call. When you're sampling chocolate ice cream, none of them are exactly going to be bad, you know? I would buy any of them again, though perhaps not the Talenti.
Also noted (from other recent ice cream shopping sprees):
Three Twins Dad's Cardamom sounded like it would taste like kheer, but it only had cardamom flavor . . . not that exciting.
Snoqualmie French Lavender was nice, but it needs some vanilla in there!! My own homemade lavender ice cream was still the best (and I should make it again)!
Snoqualmie Creme Fraiche Gelato was no good. I thought I'd be getting some pure creamy dairy experience, but it was too tangy-sour, like yogurt. Still befuddled as to why this is "gelato" as opposed to "ice cream". If I want a perfect sweet cream flavor, I have to go to the Ice Cream Smith back in Boston . . .
OH! And I discovered some valuable information!! New Seasons sells ice cream from Ice Cream Renaissance (the shoppe on Main Street here in Vancouver) and I found out why it's so terrible!! They list the ingredients on their pints, and . . . they make their ice cream with HALF AND HALF. People, just because ice cream contains both cream and milk does not mean that you can just flat out use half and half and expect it to come out all creamy and delicious. The fat content is going to be off (read: not enough) and your "ice cream" is going to taste like "ice milk" and be really sad and disappointing. Oh wait, Ice Cream Renaissance ice cream IS sad and disappointing! I KNEW there was a reason behind its lack of texture and flavor and why it always* tastes like some 15-year-old decided to "get creative" and make "homemade ice cream" by throwing some milk and sugar in the freezer and giving it a stir now and then. Sheesh. Well, real ice cream makers don't go using half and half, that's all I "half" to say. har har!
* When I say "always", I mean the 3 chances I gave it when I tried out their shoppe (hey, I do give second and third chances, FYI!), and then when I've had it out of pints at people's houses. I don't know how everyone around here is so easily fooled into thinking it's the best ever . . . . the only nice thing I can say about I.C.R. is that the shoppe does serve a really good cup of coffee.
New Seasons still has a wealth of weird ice creams to try, without straying into "that's not ice cream" territory (you know, all the ones without milk or gluten or what-have-you -- they have PLENTY of that stuff, too). I'll be back for more!