Saturday, May 30, 2015

Belmont Cookies & Cream Ice Cream (Aldi)

Has this ice cream fully recovered from the recession? Yes!
I have a massive love-hate relationship with Aldi’s cookies and cream ice cream.  When I first started buying it, which was around 2007, each carton was smothered in delicious cookies, and it had a creaminess that was second-to-none.  Then, the recession hit.  All of a sudden the cartons became 90% vanilla ice cream, with just a few sprinkles of cookie throughout, and I refused to buy them.  Every few months, or so, we would open a carton to see if anything had changed--after doing this a few times, to similar disappointment, I even stopped doing THAT.  I made a mental note never to buy it again, and it was all but forgotten.

On our latest shopping trip, my wife had a sudden craving for cookies and cream ice cream.  This, in and of itself, was pretty out-of-the-blue:  I’m a huge cookies and cream fan, while it’s generally something she can take or leave.  She remembered the desolate, barren cartons that led to us refusing to buy them, but she felt like it was time to give them another chance.  After all, it had been at least three years, and while people often cannot change, can the same be said for cartons of ice cream?

Thankfully, the answer is “yes”, because this latest carton is a return to yesteryear.  The vanilla ice cream (or, the “cream” in the title) is creamy, rich, and full of flavor--in other words, the way it used to be.  There is a generous spattering of Oreo-style cookie pieces throughout (complete with cream filling in some!), but there are also huge chunks at semi-regular intervals, ranging from half a cookie, to almost a whole one.  These cookie chunks are chocolaty and delicious, and have the added benefit of being a little soggy from being hidden inside frozen cream for so long, giving it similar texture to dipping them in a glass of milk.

If you’re even half the cookies and cream fan that I am, you owe it to yourself to pick up a carton.  For well under $3, it’s got a creaminess that’s generally unmatched in its price range; now that the cartons are back to being loaded with cookies, you definitely get your money’s worth in that regard, too.

Overall: 8.5/10.  An old-time favorite is back!  A rich, creamy vanilla is loaded with bits of cookie, and the end result is one of my favorite supermarket ice creams.  At well under $3 for a half-gallon carton, it’s also a good choice for those looking for some sweets on a budget.  The score does come with a bit of skepticism, however, as during the recession, they severely cut back on the amount of cookie in each carton, leaving you with little more than vanilla ice cream--it was that way for at least a couple of years. Assuming this is the quality we can expect, this is the score it deserves.

UPDATE (6/1/19): Purchased at least a dozen cartons of this since the initial review was posted, and am happy to say that they have been consistently full of cookies. Buy with confidence that this ice cream will change your life! Or at least not disappoint you.

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