Okay, the nine-year old and I decided to do a side by side taste test of every vegan ice cream available in one flavor at our local health food store. We chose chocolate as the flavor option. Based on that we were able to taste test five types--three soy, two coconut milk based frozen deserts. There are two other types that came highly recommended by customers at the shop, but both were sold out. So, we'll have to return to taste them at another time.
Nine-year old rating standard: scale of 1-5; 5 being 'yum', 1 being 'absence of yum'
The Soy Milk Options
1. Organic So Delicious; Flavor Name: Chocolate Velvet
me: Can smell the soy immediately. Not surprising, then, that it also tastes of soy, though you can taste the chocolate flavor too. There is a bit of unpleasant after taste--a touch tart and sour in your mouth. Very light texture, melts quickly. Not creamy at all. Best eaten with a ton of chocolate chips on top, and a cracker on the side to cover up the after taste.
the nine-year old: "Smells like you'll be able to taste the soy. (pause) Oh! I was right!"
rating: 3 1/2
2. Soy Dream; Flavor Name: Chocolate
me: Denser texture than the So Delicious. Wierdly sweet yuck fruit flavor. Melts quickly. Oh dear god, the taste is horrible. Don't do this one.
the nine-year old: "Um... Tastes like soap. Can you taste that? It tastes like soap!"
me: What she said. It does. It tastes like soap.
3. Soy Delicious, Fruit Sweetened; Flavor Name: Awesome Chocolate
me: Best of the three. Light texture. Icy on the tongue. Melts quickly. Best chocolate flavor, and overall flavor. No bad after taste. Soy is clearly not as creamy as dairy when frozen. If you're going to go soy, definitely go Soy Delicious.
the nine-year old: "Best yet. Top bit frozen, but not bad."
rating: 3 1/2-4
The Coconut Milk Options
1. Purely Decadent Coconut Milk; Flavor Name: Chocolate
me: Best "at opening" texture so far. Smooth. A lot more creamy than soy. Slight after taste, but it is mostly nutty, which isn't bad. Best option so far.
the nine-year old: "Frozen, but easy to get into (with a spoon). Best so far."
rating: 4 1/2
2. Coconut Bliss; Flavor Name: Dark Chocolate
me: Firmest frozen texture. Prettiest appearance upon opening. Funny after taste--hard to describe, a bit like toast but not as pleasant. Initially creamy, but then not.
the nine-year old: "Why can't I taste anything? Do you taste anything? Why can't I taste anything? Really. I don't taste anything. (pause) If it has no flavor, you can't really be mad at it. It's a lot better than that bad one that way. So, I guess I give it a 5."
We both agreed that of all 5 the Purely Decadent Coconut ice cream option was by far the best way to go. The advantages of coconut over soy are that the coconut has a better, creamy texture, a more palatable after taste, and coconut milk is not gas producing in the intestines. If you're going to go for soy though, definitely avoid the Soy Dream, and go for the Soy Delicious.