Taste Test: The Best Ice Creams

We taste-tested dozens of ice creams from the grocery store to get the scoop on our favorites.
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BEST CHOCOLATE
Chocolate-Brownie-Ice-Cream-Cake

Berkshire Ice Cream
We were searching for an ice cream with a smooth texture and a flavor worthy of being called "chocolate." But many contenders fell short: Some were sugary; one tasted strangely like marshmallows. Berkshire was exactly what we were looking for. One panelist admired its fudginess and density, while another tasted a hint of coffee that rounded out the rich chocolate flavor. ($3.50 per pint, berkshireicecream.com, also available at supermarkets in the Northeast)

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BEST VANILLA
meal

Häagen-Dazs
The simple things are always the toughest to perfect. Our vanilla taste test yielded some duds. Some were sickeningly sweet, others synthetic tasting. But Häagen-Dazs got it right. We loved the vanilla-bean taste; experienced tasters picked up subtle caramel and maple notes. The creamy texture convinced all of us that plain old vanilla can be anything but. ($4 per pint, haagen-dazs.com, available at supermarkets)

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CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLE
cake

Godiva
If you're seeking decadence, repeat after me: Godiva. The best of its 10 flavors is this smooth chocolate ice cream with a swirl of luscious raspberries and morsels of chocolate truffles. "Amazing," sighed one taster. "A great contrast of deep chocolate and bright berries." ($4 per pint, godiva.com, available at supermarkets)

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STRAWBERRY GELATO
cakes

Ciao Bella
Ciao Bella, a company founded in New York's Little Italy, makes wacky flavors like lychee and blood orange, but we couldn't get enough of its simple strawberry. One judge said that the pale pink concoction "tastes like a big bowl of summer berries and whipped cream." ($5 per pint, ciaobellagelato.com, available at supermarkets)

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BETTER BATTER
meal

MaggieMoo's
After the widespread cookie-dough ice cream fad of the '90s, cake batter couldn't have been far behind. The MaggieMoo's version stands out as the most authentic replication of that delicious forbidden treat: the batter left behind in the bowl. One taster, who's baked her fair share of Duncan Hines cakes, announced, "Unbelievably yummy, with the perfect boxed yellow cake flavor." ($4 per pint, maggiemoos.com, available at MaggieMoo's Treateries nationwide)

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KARAMEL SUTRA
dessert

Ben & Jerry's
Primal urges led us to crown Karamel Sutra one of our can't-live- without flavors: We couldn't resist the sweet caramel core dividing caramel and fudge chip-studded chocolate ice creams. "A perfect balance of textures," said one taster. ($4 per pint, benandjerrys.com, also available at Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops and supermarkets)

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Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in June 2006.

 

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