Lately, I've been trying to expand my ice cream horizons, and there's no better place to do that than the freezer case at Whole Foods. It has the biggest selection of designer ice creams I've ever seen.
Haagen Dazs is my gold standard, so that should give you an idea of my frame of reference. But there are two brands I've found at Whole Foods that you should definitely check out:
Made in LA, Palapa Azul is a mexican-style ice cream that tastes more like gelato (less air, lower in fat) than premium American ice cream. i've had three killer flavors: flan (with pecans), caramel (with bits of brown sugar cookie) and the most intriguing one of all, sweet corn ice cream. The sweet corn is not quite as smooth and creamy as the other two, but it has a lovely, strong, sweet corn flavor.
is a high-end gelati and sorbetti purveyor in Philly. I've been to their little shop and the gelati and sorbetti are just about as intensely flavored as any I've had in Italy. At Whole Foods you can buy pints in a variety of flavors, including Thai Coconut Milk (a bit too sweet for my taste) and Bitter Chocolate (blessedly bitter) gelati, and a tangy Lime Cilantro sorbet.
Which brand do I like better? If money were no object I would go with Capogiro. Its ingredients are probably superior and its texture is ultra-smooth. But I'm not rich, so money does matter, and for that reason I'm going with Palapa Azul. Capogiro costs an astounding $9.99 a pint, while Palapa Azul costs $4.29, or less than half.
As to whether either of them is better then Haagen Dazs, I couldn't find any identical flavors to directly compare. I thought every ice cream maker makes basic vanilla and chocolate. Guess not.
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