Summer is ice cream season. That’s not to say that it’s necessarily better in the heat (when you have to deal with melting) — milk-based products aren’t really refreshing on a scorching day, as Will Ferrell warned us in The Anchorman. But when the temperature starts climbing and you’re on vacation, ice cream seems like a very reasonable way to wind down your afternoon. Every afternoon, from early June to early September.
And that’s what we’re really advocating here: More ice cream. More shakes. More malts. More custards. Because while pastry chefs at the world’s best restaurants build ornate desserts with espumas and chocolate “soil,” we contend that the perfect sweet treat has been invented already. Ice cream’s deliciousness boggles the mind. Milk, eggs, sugar — it’s not rocket science, but it sure tastes like it.
As #Summer18 starts ripping and roaring, we want to lay out the best new ice creams of the season. But first a few words on the method:
- They’re almost all pints because that’s where premium flavors with a balanced profile are found these days, but it wasn’t a requirement.
- To be in the running, you have to either A) be in grocers nationwide or B) have a mail order business.
- Popsicles are out. So are bars and sandwiches. This is ice cream-focused.
- There is a strong caloric bias — toward more freaking calories. Fat and sugar are literally what makes ice cream taste good.
- The flavors were reviewed at an ice cream party, that also featured an exorbitant number of weed edibles. As such, rich, non-fruit driven flavors won the day. Absolutely no apologies for that.
Sea Salt & Honeycomb Toffee — Tillamook Ice Creamery
This one was an absolute hit with everyone who tasted it. The package wasn’t designed yet when we did our test, so it came in a plain white pint container and caught us by surprise. Flavor-wise, it was reminiscent of “sea salt with caramel ribbons” — the flavor that really broke things open for the crew at Salt & Straw in their early days.
Tillamook’s ice cream has always been good but their premium pint entries are legit game changers (they have a Pendleton Whiskey and Maple flavor for Summer ’18 too). The salt levels on this pint are dialed in (which is to say, “it’s pretty salty”), there’s sweetness coming from the honey, and the honeycomb toffee bits give it a crunch without cracking your molars. It’s balanced and that custard-y, ultra-rich mouthfeel is pure silk.
If you like salted caramel, but feel like the mainstream brands rarely make it salty enough, this is your pint.