My wife made some homemade brownies (i.e. from scratch, with no box) specifically for us to enjoy with ice cream. I’ve mentioned in some previous posts (and probably multiple times) that I do not like ice cream with cake, the way most people do; however, that dislike does not extend into brownies or cookies. In fact, I love brownie and cookie sundaes. (The issue I have with the cake is that it gets soggy in the ice cream, especially as the ice cream inevitably starts melting and becomes liquidlike; that usually doesn’t happen with cookies or brownies, or at least, not as quickly.)
We originally grabbed Aldi’s cheap vanilla bean ice cream, available under their Belmont brand label. But, my wife was less than impressed with the flavor and consistency of it, and so we switched to a different store brand. Well, I’m a little competitive sometimes, and my wife’s frequently nonchalant attitude (read: general indifference) toward Aldi can sometimes be a bit of a sore spot with me. I mean, she likes it, but usually has more negative things to say than positive about any given trip there. I wasn’t going to let some other crap store brand continue to get all the attention! So I dug deep into my pockets, turned off the part of my head that was screaming at me not to do it, and decided to reach for the one ice cream product I had always hitherto refused to splurge on: Specially Selected’s Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream.
The reasons are plentiful, and should come as no surprise to anyone that has read this blog: it’s expensive. And judging from my reviews (and the ensuing responses) to the other “premium” Aldi ice cream I’ve tried, I certainly don’t have the palate to differentiate between a cheap ice cream, and a premium one. So then why would I pay a premium just to verify something that I already know?
Well, in this case, it wasn’t for me: it was for my wife. What better way to show her both that I care, and that Aldi is better, than by giving her a chance to try their top-of-the-line vanilla ice cream, which retails for over $4 per carton?
Before I begin, a quick side note on the sad state of the world: this ice cream is considered “super premium” because it only has five ingredients. Let that sink in for a second. It’s like we live in a world where everything is so overprocessed that virtually anything made out of all “real” ingredients is considered super premium, rather than, oh I dunno, the norm! End quick side note.
At any rate, I have to say even I’m somewhat disappointed with the end results. Now, the flavor itself is fine…I have no problems with it. Again, I don’t have the most advanced tastebuds on the planet, but this is a strong, rich vanilla that I could eat on its own, with no toppings or sauces added. And that’s not something I can say about many vanilla products at all. I wouldn’t spend $4 on it with any sort of regularity, but it tastes similar enough to other brands in the same pricing ballpark.
However, where this – I’m not sure if “bombs” is the right word, but I’m definitely leaning toward “yes” – is in the texture. I expected it to be soft, rich, and creamy, especially given the money I paid for it. However, it’s nowhere even close to that. I wouldn’t say that it gets as rock hard as some other ice creams get, where they’d break a plastic spoon if you tried using one to scoop out the contents, but it’s pretty darn close. One day we even had to microwave it first, rather than wait for it to soften up. I mean, it’s good that it feels heavy so you’re getting more ice cream than filler. But if I’m paying a premium price, I expect to have my mind blown. The closest thing this came to doing that was making me wonder why I splurged on it to begin with.
Then again, I suppose making a “super premium” version of the world’s most boring ice cream flavor isn’t really begging for a chance to blow your mind to begin with.
Overall: 5.5/10. It’s a good vanilla ice cream in terms of flavor, with a rich taste that is noticeably better than other “less premium” store brands. But where it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me is in the texture: it’s thick and heavy. The heaviness itself is fine: It feels like you’re getting more ice cream for the money. Nevertheless, I much prefer the “churned” style of ice cream – the rich and creamy almost “whipped” texture – so this didn’t really do it for me. If I’m paying $4 for a carton of ice cream – especially the most basic of all flavors – I’m going to expect to have my mind blown in all areas. And this fell pretty well short of those expectations. (For what it’s worth, my wife also agrees. In other words, my plan pretty much backfired.)