Thursday, August 27, 2009

Being an Ice Cream Fanatic

My husband always teases me about being ice cream crazy. Is there anything I shouldn't like about ice cream? It's cold, sweet and creamy. To date, I have only met one person who doesn't like ice cream. I found that strange. How can you not like ice cream?

I have such fond memories growing up in Hong Kong, where my father took us out on weekends for my favorite honeydew ice cream, and my sister's favorite taro ice cream. Sadly, those flavors are not common here in the States. Instead, there are lots of complicated flavors here such as those with fudge or pretzel pieces. I am not that type. I gravitate towards the more simple ones. My sister is always asking me for recommendation for flavors, so here I share with you some of my favs, including those in the NY/Boston area:

Dublin Mudslide, Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, Strawberry - I was hooked on Dublin Mudslide after we had this then limited edition flavor at their VT factory. It has my favorite "Irish Cream Liquor" (Bailey's). I'm not crazy about fudge, but the coffee fudge in there doesn't bother me much. The chunks in the Coffee Heath Bar are too large for me, but I don't mind since I can always leave them for my husband.

Cookies & Cream, Strawberry, Mango - Haagen-Dazs is always is smooth and creamy, which translates to ultra fattening. I also like it that their flavors are simple. I used to eat lots of Oreos, but I've dumped the cookies and embraced the ice cream. Their Strawberry and Mango are always flavorful and refreshing. I specially love it that their Strawberry flavor isn't the pink colored ice cream common in some ice cream shops from their use of coloring - you actually see the fruit chunks.

Cappuccino Crunch - J.P. Licks is a homemade ice cream chain in Boston. I would say that they are like Ben & Jerry's b
efore they sold out to corporate America. They have wacky flavor names, but their variety of flavors aren't as complex as B&J. Their Cappuccino Crunch has bits of toffee and caramel. I normally am not a fan of caramel, but there isn't too much of it in there. The toffee chips are in nice small chunks, just the way I like them.

Red Bean, Lychee - What can I say, I'm Asian. I'm a fan of red bean in any form - ice cream, soup, jello, icicle, etc. This classic institution in NY Chinatown serves a wonderful version of red bean ice cream. I will, however, stay away from their Durian flavor...the fruit is an acquired taste. Of the fruits, I gravitate towards their Lychee flavor because of my love for the fruit. It's true to the taste of the fruit and refreshing.

Chocolate, Ginger - Gelato, ice cream...I like them all the same. Truly, I will not hesitate to try any flavors at Il Laboratorio, a gem in NYC's Lower East Side. Some of their flavors are Asian-inspired. These include Ginger and Black Sesame, which are flavors you'll find at The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. I haven't tried Ginger or Black Sesame at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, so I can't tell you which ice cream joint I prefer for those flavors. The Ginger flavor at Il Laboratorio has a wonderful delicate ginger taste and a hint of heat.

Hazelnut - I find that some of their flavors are a tad too sweet, but I will not hesitate to try any flavors at Ciao Bella either. You can't have too much of their gelato, because they are very rich (like hazelnut) or too tarte (like Passion Fruit). They started in NY's Little Italy, but these days, you can find them in your local supermarket.

I have lots more favs, but the above are the more accessible ones. Hey, I have to stop somewhere!

Images - Ben & Jerry's from Wikipedia, Haagen-Daz from Wikipedia, J.P. Licks, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, Ciao Bella

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