Summer favorite melts hearts - 07/21/05

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Brandy Baker / The Detroit News

Kroger's Private Selection squeaks by the rest.

Taste panel: Chocolate ice cream

Summer favorite melts hearts

Tasting results

In a blind tasting, The Detroit News Taste Panel rated the following chocolate ice creams on taste, texture and appearance on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).

1. Private Selection Chocolate Ice Cream (Kroger)

Average score: 4.6

Price: $5.39 per half gallon

Comments: This is so good it must be a sin. Big, big, big flavor. Rich, rich, rich ... you wouldn't need much of this to satisfy a craving. Dark rich chocolate flavor and color. Almost a pudding taste ... very nice.

2. Shatilla Chocolate Ice Cream (Shatilla Bakery: 14300 W. Warren Ave., Dearborn, 313-582-1952)

Average score: 4.3

Price: $6.50 per quart

Comments: Unbelievable! Perfect! Creamy and delicious. Fabulous chocolate flavor. Nice and tight texture ... not airy. Smooth, rich and creamy. This one has a different flavor.

3. Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream (Kroger)

Average score: 4.2

Price: $5.29 per quart

Comments: This is a classic. Very traditional with a nice texture. Perfect chocolate taste. Light and airy. Dense texture and mild chocolate flavor. Too thin.

4. Godiva Classic Milk Chocolate Ice Cream (Kroger)

Average score: 4.1

Price: $2.50 per pint

Comments: Sublime chocolate flavor. Decadent! Creamy. Rich and smooth. Silky texture. The texture is awesome. Has a malted milk chocolate flavor. The flavor could be stronger.

5. Breyer's Extra Creamy Chocolate (Kroger)

Average score: 3.9

Price: $5.49 per 1.75 quarts

Comments: A good basic sample. Good flavor. Creamy and rich but average. Melts into a creamy chocolate confection. Very chocolaty. Pumped full of air.

6. (TIE) Edy's Grand Chocolate Ice Cream (Kroger)

Average score: 3.8

Price: $1.69 per pint

Comments: Good pure flavor. Good deep chocolate flavor. Unusual color and texture. Airy like cake batter. Has too many ice crystals.

6. (TIE) Stroh's Premium Chocolate Ice Cream (Kroger)

Average score: 3.8

Price: $5.69 per 1.75 quarts

Comments: Smooth, dense and chocolatey. Delicious chocolate flavor. Very plain tasting. Not very rich. Strange tasting.

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It makes a lot of sense that July has been declared National Ice Cream Month because, according to the International Ice Cream Association in Washington, D.C., more ice cream is consumed in July than any other month of the year.

Although vanilla ice cream continues to be the best-selling flavor, it is closely followed by chocolate in popularity. And, not surprisingly, our intrepid taste panelists are all aficionados of the latter flavor.

Chris McClendon says: "Chocolate is one of the most unique ice cream flavors because you can control the quality by the quality of the chocolate that you use. And a good tight texture is important too. It shouldn't be airy."

Jackie Fox agrees. "A cool creamy texture together with a good, robust, roll-your-eyes-back chocolate is incredible," she says.

David Lawrence insists that you can't make a "decent" banana split without one of the scoops being chocolate. But Mary Valko is a purist. "Don't dress up chocolate ice cream. Don't do anything to it," she says. "Just put it in a bowl all by itself."

Adds guest panelist Marlene Platt: "Chocolate ice cream is an all-American dessert, and there's always room for it. It can be 20 degrees below zero and you can still eat it."

We tasted chocolate ice cream from seven sources. All of them scored well. Ultimately, the panel decided the sample from Kroger Private Selection was the yummiest of them all.

Judith Harris Solomon is a Metro Detroit free-lance writer. If you have a suggestion for a product to test, or would like to be a guest panelist, contact judyfree

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