I have something I need to get off my chest before this week’s taste test: I don’t love chocolate ice cream.
It’s not like I’d spit it out like a floret of soggy broccoli or slice of mealy tomato, but it’s simply not my preference when it comes to the beloved frozen treat that is currently a Skladany household summertime staple. Vanilla ice cream (which I’ve already ranked here) is my go-to and I’ll gladly consume it with chocolate toppings and fillings like hot fudge, candy bar pieces and crushed Oreos. But chocolate ice cream solo? Meh. I’ve found most mainstream varieties to be one-noted and bitter, much like a Real Housewife or an ex-boyfriend. Sorry, not sorry.
So was I really the best person to complete this ever-important ranking? I’d argue yes, since I was going to be extremely hypercritical, demanding a creaminess and richness like nothing I’d ever experienced before. For me to give up my precious vanilla would require a pint or gallon that was so memorable, so outstanding, that it was worthy of fanfare and my signature hyperbole.
And let me tell you: Many of these options actually delivered.
In the interest of fairness (in case my palate was simply not to be trusted), I did recruit a few lucky friends and fellow ice cream aficionados to come over and voice their opinions. Here are the results of sampling nine of the most popular chocolate ice creams on the market.
9. Van Leeuwen Chocolate Ice Cream
The first time I tried Van Leeuwen, I genuinely thought I had COVID due to its lack of flavor. To me, the company’s ice cream has always tasted more like frozen ice milk and less like ice cream, and this chocolate iteration was no exception. It was almost as if it wanted to be a Wendy’s Frosty, but didn’t fully metamorphose in its dessert cocoon. And the result was a bland, ugly moth — not a beautiful chocolate butterfly. Whomp, whomp.
8. Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Ice Cream
I am one of the biggest Ben & Jerry’s fans on the planet. Every time the famous duo puts out a limited edition flavor, I buy it immediately and house entire pints in one sitting (much to my cholesterol’s dismay). Unfortunately, this chocolate ice cream missed the mark. While I appreciate the company’s commitment to using Fairtrade Certified cocoa, it was entirely too bitter for my liking. And my friends agreed, much to my relief (since I thought I was going crazy for not absolutely loving it).
7. Edy’s Chocolate Ice Cream
Now is where things got a little bit more exciting. It actually feels weird to place Edy’s in seventh place because there was virtually nothing wrong with the tub. But there were just so many great alternatives that it didn’t shine as much as the competition. That’s all.
6. Blue Bunny Frozen Dairy Dessert
This was a very solid, chocolaty choice. It had the icy consistency of Van Leeuwen, but a creaminess and flavor depth that didn’t make it lackluster. A solid choice that left me far from feeling blue, but definitely like a bunny with the sugar rush.
5. Breyer’s Chocolate Ice Cream
Breyer’s excels by making ice cream flavors that aren’t too sweet, which means you get a whole lotta cocoa and not as much sugar. I appreciated the fact that this tasted like a high-quality chocolate bar in ice cream form without a trace of that artificiality that can be found in some mainstream brands. Again, another solid choice and one that I would gladly repurchase on a Friday night when I want to stay in, watch Netflix and cry about the hardships of being a single human with nothing to love but dairy products.
4. 365 by Whole Foods Chocolate Ice Cream
There is always a sleeper hit of the bunch and Whole Foods’ 365 brand took home that honor with a delightfully light and fluffy iteration of the sweet treat that literally melted in my mouth with each bite. It was one of my favorite textures, especially when left out for about 10 minutes (which is what you should also do with a Hot Pocket or Bagel Bites for optimum flavor and zero chance of destroying the roof of your mouth).
3. Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream
This was damn good. It was, by far, one of the creamiest and the first chocolate ice cream I sampled that made me verbalize “Where has this been all my life?” Had I been exposed to this Häagen-Dazs earlier in my ice cream-consuming career, it maybe, just maybe, would have convinced me that chocolate is just as good as vanilla. But that’s also what certain family members said about me being with a woman and look how that turned out.
2. Tillamook Chocolate Ice Cream
If I could describe this in one word, it’d be decadent. It was the richest of the lot and almost made me physically ill after just one scoop. Of course, that didn’t deter me from housing another serving a few hours later because I lack self-control, but the sheer luxury of indulging in Tillamook (my No. 1 pick for vanilla ice cream!) is truly unrivaled. I almost feel like I deserve thank-you notes after sharing this info to the masses, but Amazon gift cards will also suffice (to buy more Tillamook, of course).
1. Jeni’s Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream
Some of you may say this ice cream doesn’t belong on this list because it has an unfair advantage by being dark chocolate. But I’m not going to knock our girl Jeni for her decision to opt for a more complex and nuanced pint that will satisfy any sweet tooth without overdoing it (like a milk variety). In fact, I’m going to celebrate her since it was the best chocolate ice cream on this list. And don’t even get me started on her Blackout Chocolate Cake flavor, which incorporates extra-bitter fudge, cake and chocolate pieces. Like, who does this chick think she is? Willy Wonka? Be gone with your amazingness. I’ve had enough. (Kidding, of course. Give me all the Jeni’s ice cream, any time, any place.)