The Best Store Bought Vanilla Ice Cream

Jane BruceJane BruceAs the weather heats up, one food item seems to jump into everyone's mind: ice cream. Everywhere from the truck that rolls down your block playing its familiar jingle to your favorite local ice cream parlor to the frozen food aisle at the grocery store offers the frozen treat, and for good reason. According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), more than 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and similar frozen foods were produced in the U.S. in 2011 alone!

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Our panel of tasters tried each ice cream in a blind taste test and ranked them from 1 to 9 (with 1 being their favorite and 9 being their least favorite), taking detailed notes about the texture, density, vanilla flavor, smell, color, and overall enjoyment level. We also took into consideration products labeled gelato, because even though it might be considered a "super-premium" product due to its higher density, it's still a form of ice cream. There were plenty of surprises in the bunch: color tended to not make much of a difference, nor did the presence of flecks of vanilla in the finished product. And the highest-end ice cream out there also proved to be a major disappointment.

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Our Selection for the Best Vanilla Ice Cream bought from a grocery store is:

Ben and Jerry's (pictured above)

A near-universal favorite, Ben and Jerry's emerged as the clear winner. "Firm texture, rich flavor, off-white color, visible specks - just about perfect," one taster said, and most others agreed. It tasted like real vanilla and real sugar, and when it began to melt it didn't just dissolve into a pool of watery goo. "You can smell the vanilla, and it has a great mouthfeel," another said. It was on the sweeter side but not cloyingly so, and "you can tell that quality ingredients went into this," said another taster. When it comes to vanilla ice cream, Ben and Jerry's is the winner.

Click Here to see other delicious store bought Vanilla Ice Creams

-Dan Myers, The Daily Meal

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