The U.S. Holds the Ice Cream World Cup

July is National Ice Cream Month in the U.S. But I observe it year ’round! (And I suspect I’ve got lots of company.)

With Florida temperatures in the 90’s from about May through September, I prefer to cool off by eating ice cream rather than by jumping into a pool. I almost always have ice cream in the freezer. And if not, then some type of “frozen dairy dessert.”

As a child in the 50’s, my favorite ice cream was Rocky Road. It was delivered to the house in a big tin about a foot high that was at least a gallon. I don’t recall eating any other flavor (but it’s possible I just don’t recall.) Of course, like so many other things, ice cream has come a long way in 60 years. All sorts of new flavors.

cocoroad My current favorite is Coconut Road, a specialty flavor of my grocery’s store brand. This ice cream is like a Mounds candy bar: premium coconut ice cream, chocolate coated praline coconut, swirls of chocolate almond fudge and dulce de leche caramel.

When I want a little varitey in my ice cream life, there’s three other flavors I’ll select. And they’re all store brand flavors too. One flavor is “Bear Claw.” Ingredients: dark chocolate ice cream, chocolate covered cashews, and Denali caramel. Since dark chocoloate and cashews are high on my favorites list, this ice cream is a natural for me.

Another flavor I’m somewhat…religious…about is Chocolate Trinity. This is dark chocolate ice cream (seeing a pattern here?) with Mackinac fudge swirls and chocolate chunks. At “only” 200 calories per half cup (and who eats just half a cup at one sitting?), which is similar to many other “premium” flavors, this doesn’t qualify for a warning label of “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” as I suspected before reading the nutrition label. (I’m a big reader of nutrition labels.)

When discretion asserts itself and I look for a non-chocolate ice cream, I choose New Orleans Praline. It features buttery and rich brown sugar-flavored ice cream with thick ribbons of caramel and crunchy praline pieces. As they say in New Orleans, “Laissez le bon temps rouler!” (Even with no chocolate, this ice cream has 180 calories in a half cup, which is only 20 calories less than both Bear Claw and Chocolate Trinity.)

Publix, my Florida-based grocery located in a number of Southern states and ranked eighth  in Forbes’ 2013 list of largest private American companies,  has succeeded very well in keeping me with their brand of ice cream. I can’t recall the last time I bought what used to be my favorite brand: Breyer’s (white) Mint Chocolate Chip. Even when it’s on a BOGO (Buy One, Get One Free) sale, I don’t buy it.

magubeWhat I’d like to see is more tropical fruit flavors, like there are in the “fruit bars” section. (When the fruit bars are BOGO, I’ll get mango and pineapple.) Philippine ice cream manufacturer Magnolia, which is what I ate in the Philippines, has fruit flavors I enjoy, such as mango and ube (a sweetish purple yam).

And while some Magnolia flavors are available at a local Asian food store, the price is fairly steep so it’s a “special occasion” treat.  Winn Dixie, another Florida-based grocery chain , used to carry a good mango ice cream on a  “seasonal” basis but apparently stopped.

So when I want a tropical flavor, I go with Publix’s Pineapple sherbet. With just 100 calories in a half cup, it’s theoretically the “diet” option but I like to…enhance…my ice cream. With the chocolate flavors, I’ll sprinkle some sweetened coconut flakes and/or dark chocolate M&Ms. With the pineapple sherbet, it’s just the coconut and maybe some pineapple “bits.”

Enquring minds may be concerned whether my ice cream consumption has become a…weighty…issue. Especially since I also maintain a fairly stable stash of five or more pounds of mostly dark chocolate in a dedicated mini-fridge which, due to BOGO sales, is currently at…10 pounds.

Fear not… I’m 5’6″ and weigh 155 with a 36 inch waist. And I don’t go to the gym or run every day either. (I don’t run at all…to much stress on the legs.)

Because you readers deserve only the best, I’ve done a little research into ice cream. You can learn the history of ice cream here.

Here are some ice cream facts I found on another website:

It takes 12 pounds of milk to make a gallon of ice cream.  But let’s compare apples to apples: a gallon of milk weighs about 8.5 pounds, so that’s only about 1.5 gallons of milk for a gallon  of ice cream.

Americans eat more ice cream than anyone else – an average of 26 liters (about 6.5 gallons) a year. But the folks down under are next, with New Zealanders eating 23 liters and Australians at 18 liters. After that, the drop off is…interesting…because Denmark is fourth with just 9 liters average, which is just a bit over two gallons.

Enquiring minds are probably wondering about my annual consumption. I’m boosting the U.S. average by indulging in about nine gallons year. I estimate one gallon a month and then reduced the total for periods when I’m eating some sort of “frozen dairy dessert” instead of ice cream.

Although I don’t know the source of the website’s information, the top ice cream eating city in the U.S. (based on per capita consumption) is apparently Long Beach, California. Two other California cities (Bakersfield and Fresno) are in the top ten, along with two Texas cities (Fort Worth and Dallas, which is second ranked).

Except for Texas, no southern states are in the top ten ice cream eating states, which I found surprising since it’s hard to beat the heat and humidity of many southern states. Remember, those 100+ temperatures in Arizona and Nevada are “dry heat!.” 😉  I’ll take 106 with 15% humidity in Vegas any day over 95 with 90% humidity in Florida. (And I’ve experienced both.)

In the U.S., gelato is technically not considered to be ice cream. Under FDA rules, “ice cream” is a “frozen product with at least 10% butterfat,” which gelato typically does not have. So if your doctor says to cut back on ice cream… (For a flow chart on choosing a gelato based on your mood, check out the website link below.)

I mentioned earlier that ice cream flavors have exploded since I was a kid. And there are some strange flavors out there.

I’ve no interest in fried chicken wings. Well, actually I love them but not as ice cream. Or haggis (probably a Scottish favorite). Or squid ink (Asian?)

Read this for interesting ice cream information, including the gelato flavor flow chart I mentioned. As for me…time for some ice cream!


2 responses to “The U.S. Holds the Ice Cream World Cup

  1. You and I have had an ice cream discussion before. I only eat Haagen-Dazs, because it’s the only brand I know of that only uses cream as a thickener rather than guar gum. However, they do annoy me. About the time I get addicted to a flavor, they discontinue it. Mocha Java and Java Chip went by the wayside. They used to make a delicious sort of swirl thing that was a combination of vanilla ice cream and lime sherbet. That’s been gone for years.
    I also prefer my ice cream to be a lot less complicated than you do. Butter Pecan is about as wild as I get. But happy ice cream eating! Sometimes I have an ice cream emergency and have to stop at Dairy Queen on the way home from work. Technically that isn’t ice cream, it’s ice milk, but it’s close enough in an emergency.

What say you?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s