Wednesday 14 March 2018
LOW CALORIE ICE CREAM - IS IT ANY GOOD?
I love ice cream, in fact it is my favourite sweet treat, and I have been known to enjoy it at breakfast time on a or once in a while (or most weekends). Indeed in my time I’ve eaten many, many tubs of ice cream and often felt pretty bad about the 1200 calories I would have consumed after polishing off a tub in one sitting (because who can really stop half way through ?!).
However much fuss has kicked off on social media recently when it was announced that two very well known low calorie ice cream brands were coming over to the UK from the USA where they had already reached cult status. At the forefront of this is Halo Top who despite only launching a few years ago are actually outselling Ben & Jerry’s in the US right now.
Why the hype? Well you can devour an entire tub of their ice cream for 300-350 calories which is jaw dropping considering that they still do a range of exciting flavours such as cookie dough, cinnamon bun, peanut butter cup and lots more. Being so low calorie I really had my doubts how good they were going to taste but I have to say overall I was shocked by how much I enjoyed them, with some flavours even more than their calorific counterparts.
They aren’t cheap, costing £5 a pop, and are also pretty hard to find at the moment as only big Tesco’s are stocking them but boy I have to admit I am little bit obsessed with them and hope that it won’t be too long before Halo Top introduces some more of their more outlandish US flavours (birthday cake anyone?!) to us too.
i have sampled all Halo Top flavours apart from vanilla (boring), chocolate (never been a fan) and mint (gross) so below a quick run down of my favourites plus a review of their main competitor Breyers Delight and a more natural offering from the guys at Oppo. Have you tried any yet?
This was one of my favourite flavours. The ice cream is super creamy and the cookie dough bits better than in the Ben & Jerry’s version. 10/ 10
I had very high hopes for this one as I am massive fan of cinnamon buns in all shapes (particularly freshly baked Scandinavian ones like you can get from Fabrique and Baquriet) but was sadly left rather disappointed. The cinnamon flavour has got a weird hint of alcohol to it and the supposed cinnamon bun chunks don’t add anything. One that could have been great but failed to delivered. 2/10
I love salted caramel and although the Halo Top version isn’t quite as rich as it’s Haagen Dasz counterpart(you can literally taste the butter and sugar in every spoonful of that one which isn’t surprising when you consider the calories in a tub), this one is still pretty darn good and really succeeds in that salty sweet balance with proper caramel notes. A solid 9/10 from me.
Peanut Butter Cup
The name may be a little misleading as there are definitely no peanut butter cups akin to Reese’s offering in here but it’s still an incredibly rich tasting ice cream with real chunks of peanut. Yes, it may disappoint some with its lack of chocolate chunks and the name for the flavour could have been chosen better, but I really enjoyed this one, again more than the more calorific Ben & jerrys counterpart that simply got a little too savoury and rich for my liking.
Breyers has also just launched in the UK market although fir now it lacks the choice in flavours that Halo Top has brought to the table and to be honest the two flavours that I tried, vanilla and cookies and cream, did taste like a light alternative to the real deal and had a weird artificial sweetener taste at times. Yes, you are getting a low cal tub but here the taste and texture does suffer a little. If you do want to try it I’d recommend the cookies and cream as there is a little bit of extra texture through the cookies and it’s not a bad ice cream by any means just not as good as Halo Top.
Oppo’s mission is to produce low calorie ice creams with more natural ingredients, working with things like stevia leaf and coconut oil to replace nasties like processed sugar. The result is pretty good and I really enjoyed the salted Caramel ice cream even though it didn’t quite taste like conventional ice cream, not that that is a bad thing here, I welcome Oppo’s effort to make ice cream not only low cal but also a little more healthy. Right now they only have four flavours and I’d be intrigued to see them develop some more unusual and challenging flavour combination.
Ben & Jerrys has unsurprisingly also jumped on this trend and released two lower calorie tubs in the UK this week (caramel cookie fix and chocolate cookie dough), with each tub being about half the calories of a classic Ben & Jerry’s flavour - I am of course going to give these ago too and see if they stand a chance to beat their new strong competition from Halo Top!