It’s ice-cream season, so which brand offers the tastiest scoop?

Pricewatch devours four types of the summer treat to see which is best value for money

Häagen-Dazs: Our favourite. We loved its creaminess and we loved the vanilla flavours that cut through the subtle sugariness

Häagen-Dazs: Our favourite. We loved its creaminess and we loved the vanilla flavours that cut through the subtle sugariness

 

Häagen-Dazs: €6.20 for 500ml; €12.40 per litre

We loved the purity of the ingredient list and we loved the slightly yellow hue of the ice-cream. We also loved its creaminess and we loved the vanilla flavours that cut through the subtle sugariness.

In short, we loved this ice-cream and we defy you not to love it too. We weren’t so enamoured with the price but what can you do? It seems to be the going rate for a tub of really premium ice-cream in our supermarkets. We didn’t really love the fact that it turned us into a pig and we found ourselves eating a whole lot more of it than was strictly speaking necessary for review purposes.

Verdict: Gorgeous

Star rating: * * * * *

Hazelbrook Farm: cheapest of the bunch and it does stand chance compared with the premium options, though we’d happily eat it on a hot summer’s day
Hazelbrook Farm: cheapest of the bunch and it did not stand a chance compared with the premium options, though we’d happily eat it on a hot summer’s day

Hazelbrook Farm:€2.50 for 900ml; €2.77 per litre

It was HB’s great misfortune to be the last of the ice-creams we tried. Had it been the first it might have stood a chance but coming after the far superior options we tried it did not stand a chance.

While it is a whole lot cheaper than the most high-end of the ice-creams trialled, it was nowhere near as good. It tasted weak and insipid and artificial. Having said that, it is ice-cream so it does have its moments and were we to eat this in isolation on a hot summer’s day we’d probably be perfectly happy.

Verdict: The cheap option

Star rating: * * *

Tesco Madagascan Vanilla: Compared with Häagen-Dazs, it is bland and disappointing
Tesco Madagascan Vanilla: compared with Häagen-Dazs, it is bland and disappointing

Tesco Madagascan Vanilla: €3 for 500ml; €6 per litre

The packaging and the name of this ice-cream suggests that it is pitting itself against the Häagen-Dazs but if it is it comes up very, very short indeed. By comparison it is bland and watery and even in isolation it is not at all good.

At €6 a litre, it is half the price of the most premium options but it is not half as good. In fact, its closest competitor in taste terms was the HB ice-cream and it is a whole lot more expensive than that.

Verdict: Disappointing

Star rating: * *

Marks and Spencer Madagascan Vanilla: comes out just behind Häagen-Dazs. A truly excellent ice-cream
Marks and Spencer Madagascan Vanilla: comes out just behind Häagen-Dazs. A truly excellent ice-cream

Marks and Spencer Madagascan Vanilla: €6.20 for 500ml

This is an excellent product and it is telling that it was the first tub finished by the large team of volunteers from The Irish Times newsroom who assembled to help us with these reviews (it’s funny how we never find so many people happy to come to our aid when we are reviewing frozen beef burgers or polish pate in a tin, isn’t it?).

It is very, very close to the Häagen-Dazs option in taste terms – although we reckon it shaded it just because the vanilla flavour was slightly more pronounced and we liked the little flecks of vanilla pod in the mix. It is dear but worth every cent.

Verdict: We were sad when it was gone

Star rating: * * * * *

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