Thursday, October 21, 2010

Digging into Perry's Ice Cream

The following review is brought to you by S.J. Velasquez, a 44 cent stamp, and some coupons from Perry's Ice Cream. Enjoy, and big thanks to SJV!

I grew up with Perry’s ice cream. Every birthday party was topped off with slices of supermarket-made cakes and scoops of Neapolitan. Early into my childhood, I left the safety of my chocolate-vanilla-strawberry rainbow and turned to more adventurous flavors like mint ting a ling and bubble gum.

I consider myself a mature and sophisticated adult these days, and my tastes have changed. It’s only appropriate that Perry’s grew with me, offering exciting and experimental new products. So I went to Wegmans – which, like Perry’s, is a local staple – in Syracuse, NY, and snapped up a few new, edgier varieties of Perry’s: two pints of gelato and 1.5 quarts of Buffalo Sabres-inspired Top Shelf.

The two pints of gelato were completely different in both flavor and texture.
(Update: and now both are discontinued)

First was pistachio – off-white in color, smooth in texture and bright in flavor. I’ve had pistachio ice cream before, but this gelato was unparalleled. It was sweet, but not in an overly sugary way. It had a hint of fruitiness that complemented the earthy hunks of green pistachio. At first, I couldn’t pinpoint the source of the subtle fruity flavor – 24 hours later, it dawned on me: maraschino cherry! I can’t be certain, but I’m willing to bet the flavor pros and Perry’s introduced a hint of maraschino cherry flavor to the mix.

The pistachio gelato was creamy but light. The bits of pistachio were mixed in generously, but Perry’s ice cream technicians did a swell job of balancing the crunchy-to-smooth ratio.

Wild berry was the other gelato flavor I’d picked up on my quick trip to the grocer. It had a more robust taste and reminded me very much of the strawberry strip of ice cream in the cartons of Perry’s Neapolitan. So, in a sense, it was a lovely throwback to my childhood. Compared to traditional strawberry, though, this gelato flavor included a nice mix of berry flavors – blackberries, strawberries, raspberries.

Its bright purple shade was inviting. Upon tasting, it was less of a “gelato experience.” Though it was tasty in its own right, it wasn’t as creamy as the pistachio. It had an icier texture. Maybe some combination of frozen berries and milk has that effect on frosty novelties, but I’m no scientist. In my opinion, the wild berry felt more a frozen yogurt than a traditional gelato.

Overall, the Perry’s gelato experience was enjoyable. But if you’re in the market for a smooth, decadent Euro-style treat, I’d stick with the pistachio. It was delightful.

If you’re less concerned about pleasing a picky palette, or if you’re not quite a connoisseur of frozen confections, there are plenty of Perry’s classic ice cream flavors that please. Perry’s also introduces seasonal and regional flavors, such as the Sabres-inspired Top Shop ice cream. It was an explosion of awesome! This vanilla-based ice cream was chock full of salty peanut pieces, crunchy ice cream cone bits and shards of chocolate. It rivaled the specialty treats of Dairy Queen Blizzard fame, outshining any McFlurry. It was fun to eat – every bite was a surprise, especially when hints of salt arose from the creamy sweetness.

Perry’s definitely proved to me that it continues to grow with its consumers. I would definitely buy the pistachio gelato again, and I intend on picking up Top Shelf this weekend for a birthday party. Wild berry gelato was a nice attempt, but I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to buy it.


  1. I have to admit that the Pistachio Pistachio flavor by Ben & Jerry's never seemed remotely appealing to me. If you've had a chance to try that flavor, how would you say it compares to the Perry's gelato?

  2. Zombieman,
    I haven't tried Ben & Jerry's yet, but I think this Perry's gelato really got me interested in trying more pistachio ice creams. I'll have to grab some B&J's and let you know how they compare :)


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