Ice cream. Say the word slowly and you’ll likely conjure memories of beachside holidays, romantic first dates and stolen indulgences.
It is the food of moonlit walks and cobbled Italian streets, smiling children with ice cream-moustaches, and happy, generous vendors who don’t skimp on the scoop.
Whether you’re a raspberry-lover, a macadamia fan, or a chocolate junkie, there’s somebody out there making ice cream just the way you like it. For those who don’t have a sweet tooth, there are even savoury flavours such as basil or olive oil to tickle your fancy and accompany your gourmet meals.
But what choices are there for health-conscious ice cream lovers? Is ice cream part of a wistful past for those of us who place our health needs above the desires of our taste buds?
Spoon in hand, this intrepid writer scoured the countryside to hunt down, taste and then report on the healthier alternatives. Well, somebody had to do it.
The definition of health when it comes to food (and most other things besides) is a different script for all of us. A search on the internet for natural ice cream products reveals a wide variety of alternatives, including gluten-free, dairy-free, artificial additive-free, and the list goes on. In this taste test we have specifically chosen to review the corner of the ice cream market reserved for dairy-based organic ice cream.
Interestingly, this particular corner of the ice cream market is not all that crowded. After my search on the internet, and dozens of phone-calls to health food shops, organic home-delivery businesses and organic certifying bodies, the same few organic ice cream companies were suggested as potential suppliers.
A possible explanation, as offered by one of the suppliers themselves, could be the fact that the making of ice cream is no simple task – many complex processes are involved such as the sourcing of ingredients, mixing, pasteurising, freezing, storing and distributing. To ensure that the ice cream is organic, in itself a huge undertaking, whilst simultaneously keeping it fresh throughout all of these processes, must prove quite a challenge.
What this means for us as consumers is that every one of us who pay lip-service to the need for organic food choices in our communities ideally should support those businesses, at every opportunity, that are making ice cream just the way we like it – flavoursome and healthy.
With the diversity of flavours these organic ice cream makers are offering, there’s not many amongst us who would be disappointed, too.
Needless to say, I didn’t have to look hard for organic ice cream tasting volunteers.
We gathered under the moonlight, all eight of us, around a table groaning with tubs of organic dairy delights.
The only rules stipulated were no double dipping (hard to enforce) and no piling up the spoonfuls when it came to tasting my particular favourite.
Read on, and see if you can pick which one that was.
Key: Rating indicates number of tasters who gave overall positive responses to the sample. It is worth keeping in mind, however, that tastes for ice cream vary nearly as much as the flavours available. To get a true sense, you’ll just have to try them for yourself. For experimentation purposes only, of course…
Gigi’s gourmet below zero dessert
Fully Australian Certified Organic. (BFA) All dairy-milk range is gluten-free. No cream used. No artifical flavourings, colours or preservatives. Available in QLD, NSW, VIC and WA. Call 07 5477 0767 or click here to email for stockists.
Ingredients (for example purposes, list is taken from package of chocolate ice cream): organic full cream milk, organic raw sugar, organic fresh eggs, organic cocoa (1.9%)
Who loved it: Libstar: “Delicious vanilla. Sweet, amazing, smooth consistency.”
Who didn’t: Matty Mc: “Creamy. A little bit sweeter would be nice.”
Who loved it: Marty Moo: “Sensational, very chocolatey taste. Very rich.”
Who didn’t: Matty Maximus: “Dark, rich. Not my flavour.”
Who loved it: Bretty: “Refreshing; light.”
Who didn’t: Jordy. “Weird.”
Who loved it: Me: “Absolutely the best ice cream I have ever tasted! Natural, delicious.”
Who didn’t: Matty Mc: “Full flavoured macadamia. Maybe a bit too sweet.”
100% Certified Organic. (OFC) All range is gluten-free. No artifical flavourings, colours or preservatives. Available in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, TAS and some NT shops.
Call 1800 010 204 or click here to email for stockists.
Ingredients (for example purposes, list is taken from package of chocolate ice cream): organic butter, organic skim milk powder, organic sugar, organic cocoa, egg yolk, locust bean & guar gums, cargeenan, vanilla flavour, milk fat 12.2%
Who loved it: Matty Maximus: “Lovely, soft. Perfect amount of cream.”
Who didn’t: James: “Okay. Nothing special.”
Who loved it: Jordy: “Amazing. Good contrast.”
Who didn’t: Libstar: “Too thick, creamy, sticky, etc.”
Who loved it: Matty Maximus: “Fantastic. Not too strong. Best chocolate ice cream.”
Who didn’t: Me: “Frothy. A bit artificial-tasting.”
100% Organic ingredients. (Awaiting certification – previously only available in restaurants and cafes, expanded to retail outlets as of last week so certification in process.) Ranges from super creamy premium to a 95% sugar free 98% fat free range. No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Currently available in Sydney and Melbourne. Call 0414 659 171 or click here to email for stockists.
Ingredients (for example purposes list indicates ingredients of chocolate chilli ice cream): organic butter, organic skim milk powder, organic dutch chocolate (organic sugar, organic cocoa powder, organic skim milk powder), egg yolk, hot chilli powder, guar gum fibre, milk fat 10.8%
Who loved it: Matty Mc: “Nice change. Great mix of flavours. Classy.”
Who didn’t: Jordy (Our Spanish contigent. Read with a Spanish accent) “Spicy is not made for this.”
Orange chai spices
Who loved it: Matty Maximus: “Tastes good. Strong chai taste.”
Who didn’t: Marty Moo: “OK taste, not as good as other samples.”
Who loved it: James: “Textural. Not too nutty.”
Who didn’t: Bretty: “Dusty taste. Not creamy.”
Who loved it: Libstar: “Creamy with soft licorice pieces that melt in the mouth.”
Who didn’t: Matty Maximus: “Strong licorice taste. Didn’t like it.”
Who loved it: Bretty: “Beautiful. Creamy. Lush.”
Who didn’t: Me: “A bit too strong for me. A pancake breakfast in every lick.”
Our thanks go to Marty Moo for providing the moonlit table for this feast of the senses.
Thanks, also, to all of the organic ice cream companies that took part, and to all of the organic food-supply businesses around Australia for their help with research, most notably Trish from Hi-Vita Organics in Brisbane, who is proving to be a wealth of information on health-food suppliers.
Condolences go to, Terry Strates, who was not able to partake of the taste test due to strict dietary restrictions at the time of the tasting, and who watched us devour almost every last lick of the delicious, exciting organic ice cream products.
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