Summer is one of our favorite seasons by far, not only because it's hot and sunny and we get to go to the beach, but because we get to so much ice cream. You see, we take the arrival of summer as an unlimited license to eat all the ice cream we want, and we take our pursuit of ice cream very seriously.
Since every summer brings new flavors -- or at least previously undiscovered ones -- we see it as our duty to go out and try all the newbies. Last summer, flavors like Steve's Bklyn Blackout and Jeni's Juniper & Lemon Curd were pulling our heart strings. This summer, from a pool of over 50 contenders, we rounded up more ice cream from Steve's and Jeni's, as well as flavors from Graeter's, Ben & Jerry's, Ample Hills, Snoqualmie, McConnell's and Van Leeuwen. It was tough work, but somebody had to do it.
The ice creams that stood out to us the most were unique in some way -- either the base flavor, the texture or the pieces in the ice cream (because we're seeing a lot of that these days), were original. Our favorites just spoke to us, for their individuality and their fresh, authentic flavors. One ice cream's consistency was unlike anything we've ever had -- it was like a cross between ice cream and marshmallow fluff. One ice cream contained pieces of cake that were the moistest, most delicious morsels we've ever tasted. Another was so light and fresh we felt like we had been transported to a backyard picnic. It's hard to go wrong with ice cream, but these ice creams are seriously right.
Here are 13 ice cream flavors we're super excited about this summer.
McConnell's Churros Con Leche
What the brand says: Of McConnell's Churros Con Leche ice cream, the brand says, "What's even more delicious than a churro, freshly-made? One drenched in a delicate and delicious blend of silky smooth, Central Coast, grass-fed milk and cream, organic cage-free eggs, a splash of R.R. Lochead vanilla and a dash of spicy, Sri Lankan cinnamon. Hurra!"
What we say: "Serious cinnamon flavor. The pieces are good, I wish there were more of them." "This has got a LOT of cinnamon. I'm not sure it screams 'churros' to me, but it quietly whispers 'fried dough with lots of milk fat,' which is still pretty good."
Snoqualmie's Cascade Mountain Blackberry
What the brand says: In Snoqualmie's Cascade Mountain Blackberry ice cream, the "blackberry and its close cousin the marionberry are native to the Pacific Northwest and plucked at the peak of their ripeness, when they’re sweet, deep purple and bursting with juicy antioxidants."
What we say: "Without even knowing, I'd guess this is made from local blackberries because they're just so obviously perfectly ripe. The texture is super creamy, I love this." "Nice and creamy and a fresh fruity flavor."
Van Leeuwen Earl Grey Tea
What the brand says: For Van Leeuwen Earl Grey Tea: "We steep giant teabags filled with Organic Rishi Earl Grey Tea leaves in our custard for this Van Leeuwen favorite. The strong tea and subtle bergamot citrus oil lend themselves perfectly to ice cream. Paired with our Strawberry ice cream, the result is heavenly."
What we say: "'This tastes so much like tea.' That's the only thought in my mind as I'm eating this." "IT IS TEA."
What we say: "The coffee ice cream almost tastes infused with doughnuts; it's really good and creamy." "The doughnuts taste kind of generic, which isn't the best, but the flavor is also so unmistakable that it's redeeming." "The doughnuts are like very light yeast doughnuts, which come off almost like white sandwich bread. I don't like coffee, but I like the coffee ice cream anyway. It's got a little bite."
What we say:"The core is like those jars of microwavable fudge before your microwave it." "The hazelnut ice cream is a subtle, great addition. The chocolate chips are good but they could be bigger, and of course the real star is the fudgy core!" "The cores tastes JUST like Nutella, meaning it's awesome."
What the brand says: In Snoqualmie's Ginger ice cream the "pungent herbal root is the perfect taste sensation at the end of any delicious meal. Equally sweet and spicy, we use only whole ginger and its essential oils—no extracts or candy."
What we say: "The ice cream is really creamy and has a spicy, strong ginger flavor." "The creamiest texture, with a spicy kick, but perfectly balanced. It tastes like real, fresh ginger, as opposed to that over-sugared ginger ale flavor you might expect."
McConnell's Eureka Lemon And Marion Berries
What the brand says:McConnell's Eureka Lemon And Marion Berries contains "glorious, picked at their prime Oregon marionberries, cooked to a jammy perfection and folded into tart and tangy, Eureka lemon-infused California Central Coast, grass-fed milk & cream."
What we say: "Delicious tart flavor and I love the seeds. I wish there was more jam!" "Really pure, bright, super creamy, and reminiscent of a lemon cream pie. I just wish there were more jam because it's great."
Jeni's Pistachio and Honey
What the brand says:Jeni's Pistachio and Honey ice cream has a "pure and true pistachio flavor (and pure and true pistachio color). Lightly sweetened with Ohio wildflower honey. Nutty (naturally), with a lovely, savory finish."
What we say: "It's really nutty, in a good way, and the honey is subtle but just strong enough." "So fruity, so much fresh pistachio flavor. Slightly tangy, and creamy like gelato. Super rare."
Graeter's Elena's Blueberry Pie
What the brand says:Graeter's Elena's Blueberry Pie ice cream contains real blueberries and pie pieces. "Elena Desserich was a beautiful girl who loved life, a life cut short by cancer. Named in honor of Elena, Blueberry Pie is our most meaningful flavor. Proceeds from every sale benefit The Cure Starts Now Foundation."
What we say: "I could eat a whole cone of this. The blueberries taste real (which, sadly, is rare), the pie pieces are great, and it's just really palatable and not pretentious at all." "The ice cream is creamy with a really potent blueberry flavor." "I love the real blueberries and chewy pie pieces."
What we say: "OMG THE CAKE. It's like the chewiest, moistest, brown butteriest, most delicious cake you've ever eaten. And even though the base isn't a particularly interesting flavor (vanilla?), the texture and creaminess is just so perfectly executed." "So, the cake is UNREAL." "The cake is outrageously good. It's crispy and chewy at the same time, and sweet and moist like it's honey-soaked. I can't say enough about this cake."
Jeni's Brambleberry Crisp
What the brand says:Jeni's Brambleberry Crisp is "buttery, oven-toasted oat streusel and a striking, sweet-tart 'brambleberry' jam of blackberries and black currants layered throughout vanilla ice cream."
What we say: "I could just eat this forever. The vanilla is perfect, there is so much of it. Even if it didn't have the flavors and the streusel, I'd eat it for the vanilla base." "The streusel pieces are nice and big, and soft. Brambleberry just tastes like blackberry to me, but I'm not complaining." "The vanilla flavor is intense and perfect, and the cinnamon-y chunks of crisp taste like they were just baked."
What we say: "The base is buttery and fluffy like marshmallow fluff. The consistency is so unique, and the Rice Krispies are super crunchy and sugary." "Long after I ate this ice cream, I could not stop thinking about it. It's unlike any ice cream I've ever tasted." "WHAT? This is the best thing. The treats are somehow still crunchy. The marshmallow ice cream base is a dream, it's chewy and light and has the perfect marshmallow taste."
What we say: "This is the best ice cream I've ever tasted. I love the grainy texture and that you can really taste the potato chips and Ritz crackers. The salty, caramel-y flavor is a mind-bogglingly good backdrop for all the bits and pieces." "Every bite is different and AMAZING." "I know it's supposed to taste like pretzels in the base, but it's really graham crackery even though there aren't any graham crackers in it. Has tons of chunks but they're nice and small, perfectly incorporated. Perfect salt-sweet balance. "