Alas, there was no comfort to be found in Texan ice cream this summer. Or, I should say, not in the state’s #1 Go-To because tragically, the Blue Bell factory that’s been churning out tubs since 1907 was shut down in June due to a Listeria contamination. (Not to be confused with a Listerine contamination, which is actually a good thing if you want super fresh breath.)
But while Texans wept, gallons and tubs and pints of Blue Bell joy were mercilessly yanked from every grocery stores and ice cream shops in the state. We were left bereft, overheated and well, a few pounds thinner because we weren’t gorging on ice cream every damn night. But honestly, is there anything sadder than a child who now has no choice but to snack on (gag) vegetables?
That’s why I decided to make it my mission to find new ice cream. Better ice cream. Ice cream that would cool me down on these scorching hot days while also keeping my waist in the peak muffin top shape that is both my money maker and my calling card. Yes, people, you can always count on me to do the heavy lifting when it comes to frozen treats. I am the Mother Teresa of the Freezer Section. My mantle is ready for the Nobel.
Here are a few of the new ice cream brands I sampled this summer. Please note that the pictures aren’t perfect because I took them when it was 2,000 degrees outside, I was under a red umbrella, and both my eyeballs and the ice cream were rapidly melting. I know, the ways I suffer for my art.
1. HEB CREAMY CREATIONS
Not only is HEB like, the best grocery store in Texas, but their store brand is consistently as good if not better than national brands. Their Creamy Creations ice cream is no exception. It’s flavorful, satisfying, and priced very reasonably. Plus it comes in a ton of delicious flavors, including Texas-centric ones like Houston Texans: Texans Tackle Crunch, Texas Vanilla Seguin Pecan, and Poteet Strawberry. Oh, and there’s also one named after me: Intense White Chocolate.
What’s the difference between ice cream and custard? Same as the difference between roosters and chickens: EGGS. But what these eggs do is make the custard extra creamy and stay cold longer. Don’t ask me why. I’m not an Ice Cream Scientist. But my entire family thought the two Dreyer’s Custard flavors we tried—Vanilla and Snickerdoodle—were delicious, and now we plan on hunting down their Chocolate Malt Frozen Custard and making it our new bestie.
Shhhhhhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone in my family that we had this in our freezer. And don’t tell anyone in my family that I ate the pint of CHURROS CON LECHE by myself. And the pint of DOUBLE PEANUT BUTTER CHIP. And the pint of, well, you’re picking up what I’m laying down, friends. And whatever you do, DON’T TELL TEXANS THAT THIS GIFT FROM THE ICE CREAM GODS IS MADE IN SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA AND YOU CAN GET IT SHIPPED TO YOUR HOUSE BECAUSE I WANT IT ALLLLLLLL FOR MYSELF.
Did you know that Tillamook, the Oregon makers of best cheese ever, also makes ice cream? I didn’t, but apparently they’ve been doing so since 1947, and it’s now available in certain Texas cities. The Horchata ice cream is based on the Mexican drink made from rice and milk, with added Vietnamese cinnamon. I’m sure many people would love the Horchata, but alas, none of them live in my house*. We much preferred the Marionberry Pie and Tillamook mudslide. And the Tillamook cheese we went out to buy after the word “Tillamook” gave us cravings for some sharp cheddar.
*They all live in Laura’s house. Or, actually, Laura loves it enough for about six people.
I love Adams Vanilla Extract. I use it every time I bake something, which is roughly once every nine years. But it’s the best, and it’s also made by one of the oldest continuously operated companies in Texas, and one of oldest spice and extract companies in the United States. Adams just celebrated their 125th birthday, and did so by launching this amazingly good ice cream exclusively sold at HEB. Flavors include Vanilla and Cookie Dough, but listen up: if you don’t scoop up every container of the Pecan Pie flavor that you can get your sweaty little hands on, then go buy a deep freezer for your garage, then store a lifetime supply of this ice cream in said deep freezer, then you sir, are a moron. It is THAT good.
So there you go, Texas. Plenty of ice cream choices to get you through our Blue Bell drought and through our endless summer heat. My muffin top is now in prime shape. And while rumor has it that BB will be back in business soon, try some of these brands in the meantime and keep your fingers crossed.
I’d cross mine, but they’re currently busy doing more “research.”
This post was written by Wendi Aarons, extended-dance-mix writer and all-around swell human. Read more about Wendi right here.