Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Whole Foods Butter Pecan Ice Cream

[By Nick] Last Monday I had the pleasure to tour the new Whole Foods Market in Colonie, NY a couple of days before it's official opening. Seeing as this is the first Whole Foods in the Capital Region and I've yet to go to one, let's just say I was very excited when I got the invite.

Dubba has been teasing me with stuff he gets from there for a while so now I can finally get my hands on some of the products. To be honest, I knew very little about Whole Foods going into this tour. I knew it was a higher end grocery store chain that focused on natural/local stuff and the like. While I'm sure a lot of you know a good amount about Whole Foods already, I’d just like to share a few bits of info that I found fascinating/interesting/funny.

First off, since they offer both organic and non-organic produce, they have to go through extreme measures to make sure that neither of them touches. If non-organic produce touches the organic, the organic is basically contaminated. When I say extreme measures, think of the steps you went through in Elementary School to avoid being near the smelly kid in the class. Your life sucked if your last name happened to be right after theirs. Simply put, I hated Elementary school and that smelly kid. Okay, back to the tour facts.

The bakery department at this store will be making handmade ice cream sandwiches to order which is something I'm very excited to hear and will have to investigate in the near future. This specific Whole Foods will be carrying over 50(I think he said 50) local brands which they've never carried before. That number might not be impressive to some but it is to me. I didn't even know there were over 50 brands that were up to Whole Foods' standards. While they did mention how you'd go about getting your product on to their shelves, that was my mind started to wander....

You see, we were getting closer to the ice cream aisle and all I wanted to do was run down it to see all of the products. Also being next to that cookie display didn't help either. (I see sundaes in all of your futures!) Heck, they even had the infamous Greyston's Bakery brownies hanging out in that area as well. There was also pizza, glorious pizza, that I forgot to photograph. If you're in that area though, this store has an 112 seat food court where you you can enjoy some of that pizza and mooch off of their free wi-fi like I was during the tour.

Click for a MUCH larger viewer

With my mind going everywhere, I was thankful that not too long after, the guide dismissed me from the group to bask in the glory of their frozen delights. And believe me, it was a glorious site. First off, just look at that selection of Steve's! They literally have every flavor they offer. I knew they had Whole Foods' exclusive flavor as well which all caught my attention. That's not all though.

They had a nice row of both Jeni's and Three Twins flavors I haven't seen around me before. They have quite an impressive selection of Talenti Gelato as well. There were also some scary sights such as a row of Iskream pints as well as a brand called Wink which might just be worse than Arctic Zero. 25 calories a serving? Broccoli also has 25 calories per serving... Of course there was also a wide selection of dairy free options including the new Dream Gelatos. What caught my attention the most was the variety of local companies that I admittedly never heard of before. This store has definitely opened up a bunch of new opportunities for reviews.

Whole Foods was generous enough to not only send me home with a tote bag filled with local goodies but a choice of 4 pints as well as one of their house brand flavors. Seeing as they were so awesome to me, let's start the reviews with their 365 Everyday Value Butter Pecan Ice Cream.

You all know my love for Butter Pecan and I could think of a better flavor to see just how well they execute their ice cream. I'm a little worried about the lack of description on the container though. I'm worried because now I don't know if they will try to pull a fast one by using a vanilla base. That's one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to ice cream.

Let's remove the lid and see what we have going on. I like what I see so far. There's a bunch of good sized pecans sticking out. The base is also that hue of yellow which gives me hope that I won't be getting a vanilla base.

Okay I'm going to up front with this one, this ice cream is amazing. I had planned to just have a small serving but if you follow me on twitter, you would have seen that things don't always go as planned.

Let's start off with texture. Coming in at 85 grams per serving, this ice cream is far from your typical mainstream ice cream that you'd find in similar packaging. I'd say the consistency and mouth feel is right on par with super premium brand. It's just so rich, dense and pure almost like a gelato by not leaving any unpleasant coating in your mouth. The flavor though. Oh man, this easily blows Haagen-Dazs Butter Pecan out of the water and I can't believe I'm going to say this but it also beats out the Chocolate Shoppe version.

The base is pure perfection for a butter pecan lover like me. The balance between the salty buttery-ness and sweetness is on point. Throw in the butter roasted pecans that are everywhere and it's bliss in each spoonful. I literally filled my bowl beyond max capacity. After I was done I was actually debating on going back for more it was that good. There's just something clean and balanced to their flavors that it's easy to consume a lot of this without a second thought. Even the price of this one is on point. I know people tend to complain about Whole Foods prices but there's definitely value here. While Haagen-Dazs goes on sale for about $3 a 14oz container around me, this one costs only $4.99 and I'm getting 4 times as much ice cream. Don't get me going on how much it would cost me to acquire a pint of Chocolate Shoppe's either.

I'm really trying my hardest to find any negatives about this ice cream but there really aren't any. If there's one thing to complain about, it's the overall lineup of flavors Whole Foods offers. There are really no "risky" flavors. Outside of the Cookies & Cream and Rocky Road, I don't really see myself wanting to purchase any of their basic flavors normally. I'm sure they're fine and all but if I'm committing freezer space for a large container, it better be able to keep me interested. They are starting to produce their flavors in quarts though. While still only basic flavors, hopefully this will lead to them making their own pints that are outside of the norm. Hey Whole Foods, if you need any help, you have my email address. Let's make this happen!

Verdict?  Best Butter Pecan I've had
Buy Again?  Oh yes!


Anonymous said...

I love the base flavor of most Butter Pecans ice cream but I absolutely cannot tolerate nuts in my ice cream, so I can never enjoy flavors like these. Why can't companies include no mix-ins and just make it a butter-flavored ice cream, or include a different mix-in?

Nick Rovo said...

Stride, have you tried Steve's Sunday Morning? That sounds like something you'd be interested in. Here's my review: http://www.onsecondscoop.com/2014/01/steves-sunday-morning-ice-cream.html

Danielle said...

Nick that trip looks like a trip to heaven! The ice cream shot alone is amazing! Now I wish we had more Whole Foods near me, btw that Steve's Blackberry preserves and sweet corn looks delightful!

Anonymous said...

I will do! Thanks for the advice.

Katie said...

Don't knock wink until you've tried it! Whilst it has similar texture to AZ, its dairy free & the cinnamon bun is delicious!

Nick Rovo said...

Katie, knowing that the texture is similar to Arctic Zero terrifies me even more! Dairy free doesn't help things either aha.

Vic said...

Bought a tub of Butter Pecan today from Wholefoods in Upper East New York on 3rd Ave. Oh man, what a delight. Absolutely delicious and awesome value.