After our last taste test installment (the cashew) I became convinced that people met in Natural Food Stores are not, generally speaking, to be trusted for reliable food recommendations.
We've been steered towards really horrendous non-dairy frozen dessert options by whole heartily enthusiastic fellow-customers multiple times now. It's important to learn from such experiences and take a scientific skepticism to the taste testing process. That is, don't get excited in advance for what (a) appears to be a really yummy taste option, or (b) has been recommended by (even multiple) natural food store customers. I believe that after years of surviving on sorghum powder, and spelt their taste buds are radically confused about what really counts as 'good.'
Tonight, we were able to secure two more vegan frozen dessert options, but decided to further extend our tasting duties into lactose free alternatives, and then also reward ourselves with two types of gelato. Gelato, as most of us realize, is the Italian Royalty of the ice cream world. Surely, by now, we deserved a genuine treat after surviving too many run-ins with the likes of soy dream, and Freezee's Fudgee Fudge (see previous reviews for how outrageously bad these turned out to be; to be clear, Soy Dream is now our standard of measure for how bad things can be any time someone may randomly ask "yeah, but how bad can it be?").
So, we're tasting the following: first, two non-dairy options; second, a goat's milk alternative; finally, two gelatos. All chocolate.
Taste Test Guidelines
Again, here are the tasting guidelines.
We only purchase to taste chocolate frozen desserts. (So far, we've just been tasting things that come in the ice cream style tub. We haven't yet moved onto frozen treats like "ice cream" bars.)
5 point rating system--5 being yum; 1 being absence of yum
VEGAN AND LACTOSE FREE OPTIONS
1. Arctic Zero Frozen Dessert, Chocolate -- Low Calorie, Fat Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free
Arctic Zero trumps itself as the allergy sufferers option that also supports the needs of those that long to eat an entire pint. Somehow the whole pint contains only 128 calories (what?!). It advertises itself as the "rich, creamy ice cream replacement." After reading all over the container I finally found (they bury this information) that the product is made of whey. Oh little miss muffet! Let's taste what you've been eating all these years!
me: smooth, and creamy up front in the mouth. immediately disappears into the mouth. has a chocolate smell, but only a very slight chocolate flavor. not at all bad. just kind of like eating a cloud. not substantial.
the ten-year old: "huh." smooth, creamy, subtle, but weird after taste.
(Remarkably, this turned out to be the best of the products we tasted tonight.)
2. Living Harvest TEMPT, hempmilk frozen dessert, chocolate fudge
This product again prides itself on being a good option for those with allergies. It is marketed as both lactose, and gluten free. This product also touts itself as rich in omegas.
I have to confess that the name of this dessert is what convinced me to launch into the time and expense of another frozen dessert taste test. The idea of calling a product TEMPT seemed utterly ridiculous to me, as if they were asking you to recognize it would be bad before you ever tried it. So, with that in mind, let's try it!
me: harder texture. "uh..."
the ten-year old: "what?"
me: (not speaking and instead just writing notes)
the ten-year old: "uchhh... uccchhhhh... can you write that noise? can you? ucchhhhh... that's what i want mine to say."
me: "god. how do i describe this? nutty, cardboard grass woven placemat flavor. but the after taste goes away quickly, which is good."
rating: 2, only cause way better than soy dream.
LACTOSE FREE OPTION
3. LaLoo's Goat's Milk Ice Cream, Deep Chocolate
LaLoo's announces itself as "beyond gelato into wellness." With such a claim we thought it would suit well with the lactose free options, on the one hand, and the gelato options, on the other. The marketing focuses on the health considerations of goat's milk (though it doesn't actually explain what these are), and focuses on being a good alternative for the lactose intolerant.
me: outrageously creamy and rich at first. then very quickly showcases an intensely putrid, sour yech in the mouth. the flavor does not go away quickly.
the ten-year old: (crouching to the floor holding her gut after tasting) "uccchhhh... i HATE goat's milk. god! do you SEE? do you SEE why i wanted to just get something we'd had before and know we like? oh god!"
rating: the ten-year old clarifies that when you first put it in your mouth it is a 3; then it very quickly devolves into a 0.
Having survived the lactose free options, we are looking forward to what we expect to be wonderful--the gelato.
4. Ciao Bella Chocolate Gelato
we agree on the description: creamy, rich. strongly nutty, crisp flavor full in the mouth, which is not very appealing, though not horrible. then that quickly fades to a creamy, appealing, chocolate taste.
5. Talenti Gelato, Double Dark Chocolate
We've intentionally saved this one for last because it looks so good in the container, and several people in the store recommended it. They even agreed that Soy Dream, and Freezee's Fudgee Fudge are horrible, so surely this will be good. Yes? It is our reward for having survived the previous options.
the ten-year old: (her face puckers; she croutches quickly to the floor, holding her gut)
me: "dear god! what do these people do to this stuff?! it is CHOCOLATE! how do you do this to chocolate! you have GELATO HERE PEOPLE. what did you do to this thing?!"
the ten-year old: "you've never reacted like that before when we're rating."
me: (trailing off) "what did you do to this thing..."
the ten-year old: "uccchhhhhh... it is so awful..."
me: "i don't even know how to describe this."
the ten-year old: "HOW ARE YOU TASTING IT AGAIN?! I CAN'T EVEN FINISH WHAT'S ON MY SPOON! OH MY GOD! ANOTHER BITE! YOU'RE HAVING EVEN ANOTHER BITE?!"
me: "i have to figure out how to describe it. oh god... god."
me: weird nutty plus sour flavors. very hard to describe. not good.
the ten-year old: "uuccchhhhhh... can you get that sound in there?"
rating: 1.5, only because it is not as bad as the soy dream. but, it actually upset my stomach.