REVIEW: Breyers Delights (Vanilla Bean, Mint Chip, Raspberry Fudge)

Ice cream is hot these days, probably hotter than it’s ever been. While old school super premium brands are flourishing and there seems to be more new scoop shops popping up every month than I ever thought imaginable, one of the hottest ice cream trends is infusing it with protein and dropping the sugar. After the slow rise and ultimate booming success of Halo Top, who as of July are the best selling grocery ice cream in America, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon – even big time boys like Breyers. Their latest release, Breyers Delights, have low sugar, low fat, and 20 grams of protein per pint. They launched with four flavors and I chose to try the two identical flavors that were my favorite from the first Halo line in 2015 – Vanilla Bean and Mint Chip.

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Opening up the Vanilla Bean it is immediately less visually appealing than all the other protein ice creams I’ve had. The top is icy and fully separated from the sides of the carton with an odd spiky texture.

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After giving it a good amount of time to temper, even longer than your average Halo Top or Enlightened, it scoops decently with a smooth and creamy consistency. Unfortunately the flavor is about as appealing to my tastebuds as the initial top-popping to my eyes and I’m pretty disappointed. The ice cream finishes with a really harsh, almost medicinal quality that I initially thought was the result of way too much vanilla extract, but looking at the ingredients it’s pretty obvious it’s the sweetener they used – stevia. The stevia creates an astringent, off-putting finish that makes this without a doubt one of the worst vanilla ice creams – protein, light, or otherwise – I’ve ever had.

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The base flavor is only mildly sweet, less sweet than Enlightened’s, and doesn’t have any of the great true vanilla bean flavor of Halo Top’s. Adding some strawberries and whipped cream to the equation helped alleviate a bit of the bad taste, but I don’t want to start my sundae with something I feel the urge to cover up. This is not good, and I don’t recommend it at all.

Rating: 4/10

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Opening up the mint carton is similarly un-cute but marginally better – with more notable smoothness and less weird spikes jumping out at me. I’ll give Breyers some credit for having much more significantly sized chocolate chips than their competitors, but that’s the end of the compliments for this flavor as well.

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The peppermint extract is far too aggressive, and begins the bite on an already unpleasant note, which then unfortunately finishes with the same off-putting stevia flavor as the vanilla. It’s harsh, astringent, and just generally not good. The sizable chocolate chips can’t save this pint from being far from sweet enough to pass as a dessert replacement, and whereas Halo Top’s mint chip finishes with a sweet cooling and creamy mint flavor, this feels like I took a swig of cheap mouthwash.

Rating: 5/10

Both of these flavors from Breyers are a big letdown, and I guess that’s right in line with the overall quality I’ve come to expect from Breyer’s products in general. What’s more perplexing about this whole situation, is that Halo Top is priced at $4.99 and each of these cost me $5.99. With more flavors, far better execution, and a cheaper price point, both Halo Top and Enlightened are a far superior choice if you’re looking for a macro-cheap ice cream fix.

Raspberry Fudge

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When I posted my original review Breyers reached out to me and said the pints didn’t look right and wanted to send me some coupons to give them another shot. Those coupons never showed up so I never gave them a second chance. I was so let down that why would I waste anymore of my hard earned money on their trash? Recently I got a great coupon from Safeway and through that coupon and a sale I got this newer flavor for $1.50. What’s the harm in that? I’m glad I gave it a shot because this one is much much better.

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The raspberry base is really smooth and creamy with a perfect texture for a light ice cream. The flavors leans a little towards artificial at times but mostly brings me to the right tart, acidic, and sweet places I want to go when scooping into a fruity ice cream. I’ve always loved the combination of raspberry with chocolate and this is no exception.

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While the light protein-infused base is surprisingly solid, where this pint really starts to sing is the fudge swirl. It’s thick and legitimately chocolaty with a slightly sticky Hershey’s syrup quality that doesn’t taste fake or “diet” at all. It works really well with the berry notes in the base but stands tall on its own as one of the better swirls I’ve had in a light ice cream. I’m glad I gave Breyers another shot, and might even take the plunge again if a good deal comes my way.

Rating: 8/10

REVIEW: Macaw! Foods Protein Bars

Earlier this year I was approached about the opportunity to design my own protein bar with The Bar Shack. I did that and really enjoyed it, and now that same company have developed a line of ready-to-buy protein snack bars under the name Macaw! Bars. The bars are made of all natural ingredients with a base of date paste and various nut butters, supplemented by protein powder, organic dark chocolate, and a myriad of flavorful accents. Each bar is more of a nutrient-dense snack than a true protein supplement for me, clocking in with 12 grams of fat and just 10-11 grams of protein for a 240 calorie treat. For my intake, a protein bar is usually only worth it when it has 20 grams of protein for 200-230 calories, but those also come with the presence of heavy artificial sweeteners and preservatives. These may be for you, they may not, but from Chocolate Brownie to Lemon Poppy there’s something for everyone, and I’ve broken down a bunch of flavors today on the skillet.

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REVIEW: Baskin Robbins’ Oreo ‘N Cake

Baskin Robbins have been really slackin’ off lately. I made it my mission when I started the skillet to review every Flavor of the Month and be the ultimate go-to for anyone curious about BR’s creations. You may have noticed the last two months have been silent on this site for the 31 flavored brand, and that’s not because of personal fatigue, but because of BR’s rare back to back months of repeats. May brought back the solid Mom’s Makin’ Cookies and last month saw a second dip of Caramel Macchiato. I was sure that for July, National Ice Cream Month, and a month that has become synonymous with epic Oreo collabs, would yield a new scoop for me to dig into. Nope. It’s back to back to back repeats, but there is a caveat with this month’s call back.

July 2018 see’s the return of Oreo ‘N Cake, a flavor that proceeded the birth of the skillet and one that I really enjoyed when it came out in 2015. In fact, I liked it so much that during that hot July three years ago I scooped it three times, and according to BR’s website, this is their most popular Flavor of the Month of all time. Oreo ‘N Cake combines a cake flavored ice cream with Oreo cookie pieces and a chocolate cake batter ribbon.

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REVIEW: Enlightened’s Spring Flavors (Movie Night, S’mores, French Toast)

You would never know by lurking this site, but I actually really like Enlightened ice cream. I’ve been a fan of theirs for nearly two years but never wrote about them because I had this grand scheme of ranking all of their flavors and being a super completest about it. Problem is, their distribution in the bay area has been pretty spotty, and only a handful of flavors are available, especially since it seems like they’ve released about 43 varieties in the last year. All that hooplah aside, I would be pretty short sited to overlook one of the biggest trends in the frozen grocery game during National Ice Cream Month, so it’s time to finally break my silence. In March Enlightened made their strongest push yet, rolling out five new pints backed with a strong PR presence and inventive flavors that set the internet off with hype. While I still haven’t been able to track all of them down, and the ones I did get I had to leave San Francisco for, I’m stoked to introduce the skillet to three new high protein low fat low sugar alternatives to get your creamy fix. Movie Night, French Toast, and S’mores.

Movie Night

Popcorn ice cream with chocolate bits and a caramel swirl.

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REVIEW: Salt & Straw’s Dandelion Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies and Cream

Salt & Straw are a pretty amazing company. If you weren’t aware, every time they open in a new city that city gets a menu that includes some S&S classics as well as some city-specific exclusives that you can’t get anywhere else. When they expanded to San Francisco last year they made some amazing flavors, including Roasted Strawberry Tres Leches and Salted Honey Marshmallows & Walnuts (RIP), but sometimes even great new things need to be revised. To kick off National Ice Cream Month, Salt & Straw added a handful of new SF-only flavors to their menu, including the tantalizing-sounding vegan friendly Dandelion Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies and Cream – a dark chocolate ice cream made with coconut and hazelnut milk with stacciatella ribbons of Dandelion chocolate and chunks of homemade gluten free vegan oreos.

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REVIEW: Tillamook’s Sea Salt & Honeycomb Toffee

Happy National Ice Cream Month! Or more specifically, happy week-of National Ice Cream Day! As has become a mini tradition on this site, the week of the day that celebrates one of the finest culinary delights of all time will be fully dedicated to nothing but ice cream. I realize over the last year there have been many weeks where I only posted about ice cream, but that was an accident and more reflects what I was eating than what we should be celebrating. To kick off the festivities we’re digging into a new flavor from Tillamook – one of the most underrated fine dairy churners on the West Coast now in many grocery stores including Target. Sea Salt & Honeycomb Toffee combines a honey custard with crunchy pieces of crunchy honeycomb toffee and a touch of sea salt.

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REVIEW: ONE Brand Basix Bars (Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter, Triple Chocolate)

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of ONE brand protein bars. In fact, I’ve ranked every single one of their flavors and it remains one of the most popular posts on this site getting new visitors nearly every day. The company is known for delivering bars with 20 grams of protein, decent fiber, and only one gram of sugar, but they have a major drawback – sugar alcohols. ONE recently rolled back the amount of sugar alcohols in their bars by roughly half, but they’re taking the natural angle to a whole new level with a fresh line of Basix Bars naturally sweetened with stevia and overall simpler ingredients. The roll out comes in three very standard options for those familiar with protein bars – Triple Chocolate Chunk, Cookie Dough Chocolate Chunk, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk.

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REVIEW: Limited Edition Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Oreo

The music begins at a clear soft distance, your ears perk up and you stop whatever you’re doing. Once settled into your surroundings and putting the Gameboy down you can truly determine whether or not it is in fact the song or not. Yes, yes it is. My ears are hanging low. You tap your pockets. No money. You look around the room. Cushions. Crumpled pairs of pants. Stranded wallets. How can you make this happen. The adrenaline begins to rush as you see an abandoned dollar bill and some quarters laying on the kitchen counter. No need to blow your lungs yelling for mom. Money in hand you bust ass sliding on flip flops and bolting out the door before anyone can stop you. Chasing the ice cream man. A true right of passage for children across the world.

As a kid who spent five years in Nebraska in 109 degree humid as all hell summers I earned that cheap ice cream treat, and now, in 2018 I can get that fix without breaking a sweat or even opening the freezer with Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Oreo’s.

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