The local ice cream scene has come a long way during the past decade with most brands now offering their very own "premium" ranges, some good and others… not so much. We visited the major local supermarkets (Arpico, Keells and Cargills) to see which premium ice creams we could buy off the shelves. With the Christmas season in full swing we decided to try out the new seasonal flavours and add them to the list. If you want ice cream parlours, go here.
The Rankings (Best To Worst)
We ordered the table from best to worst in case you just want to read it quick. The new ones we added in December are in red. Some of those are seasonal varieties.
|Double Chocolate Chip||Carino||500 ml||Rs. 900|
|Very Berry||Elephant House||1 L||Rs. 650|
|Winter Slice||Elephant House||1.2 L||Rs. 750|
|Cookie Cream||Elephant House||1 L||Rs. 650|
|Caramel Rave||Carino||500 ml||Rs. 900|
|Rocky Road||Elephant House||1 L||Rs. 675|
|Richy Rich||Kotmale||1 L||Rs. 600|
|Magic Chocolate||Cargills||500 ml||Rs. 475|
|Wild Berries||Kotmale||1 L||Rs. 600|
|Magic Mixed Berries||Cargills||500 ml||Rs. 475|
|Magic Blueberry||Cargills||1 L||Rs. 500|
|Chocolate Affair||Alerics||1 L||Rs. 260|
Our Reviews (Worst To Best)
We ordered our reviews worst to best cause it's funnier that way.
Alerics Chocolate Affair
|1 L||Rs. 260|
First off, this isn't really a premium ice cream but we wanted to try out the newly revamped Alerics. Sadly though, this one was pretty awful. Pretty much the only one of the lot that no one wanted to have another spoon of. Checking the ingredients we noted that it doesn't contain any real chocolate just cocoa powder which is probably why it tasted so cheap.
You do get a lot of it though, 1 liter for Rs. 260.
Shifani: Gross. This is the Edna of the ice cream world.
Indi: Tastes chalky and somehow dusty. Ungood.
Bhagya: Unpleasant flakey texture. God awful taste. Chocolate ice cream is hard to mess up but Alerics found a way.
Cargills Magic Mixed Berries
|500 ml||Rs. 475|
We had high hopes for Cargills since their normal range is pretty good, but honestly, their premium offerings were a bit of a letdown and at Rs. 475 for 500 ml they're a lot more expensive than Elephant House. The mixed berry in particular was far too sweet and syrupy. The first reaction most of us had was that it tasted like medicine.
Shifani: You'll like this if you like cough syrup
Indi: Tastes like medicine.
Bhagya: They could just call this Corex ice cream..
Kotmale Wild Berries
|1 L||Rs. 600|
So this is the only premium ice cream by Kotmale we could get our hands, but apparently they have a couple of other flavours as well. This one undoubtedly tastes artificial but it's the good kind of artificial. It does contain trace amounts of fruits but oddly enough they don't come up in the list of ingredients. At the end of the day, however, we expect a bit more from a premium ice cream.
Shifani: Fake but tasty. Candy-like flavour.
Indi: Tastes a bit too fakey for me, but good consistency.
Bhagya: Tasty in an artificial way. Would have fine if it wasn't priced at a premium rate.
Cargills Magic Chocolate
|500 ml||Rs. 475|
This one was not bad but nowhere near as good as Carino's offering, but then again this is at half the price. The good part is that this had whole lot of dark chocolate chips in it. The not-so-good part was that the ice cream itself was pretty much the usual Cargills chocolate ice cream.
Bhagya: Better than their berry flavour but still pretty ordinary.
Kotmale's Richy Rich
|1 L||Rs. 600|
We missed the Richy Rich by Kotmale, on our first round but we finally managed to get our hands on it and it's actually quite good. Like the name suggests it is quite rich in flavour and very generous with the cashews. The only issue we had was that it was a bit watery, but overall it fared well.
Indi: creamy and sweet, but a randomly watery.
Bhagya: Bit too sweet for me, but the cashews add a nice texture.
Carino's Caramel Rave
|500 ml||Rs. 900|
The usual caramel and butterscotch ice creams we get are basically vanilla ice cream with a caramel topping or butter scotch pieces. This one though, screams of caramel. It's very creamy but not for everyone though, since the flavour can be quite overpowering.
This is a high quality ice cream, but it's sort of an adult ice cream as well. They also have an excellent salted caramel. It's not what you'd want for most kids or even young adults, but if you're looking for a sophisticated ice cream, Carino's is good.
Shifani: Creamy but not very fond of it.
Indi: I like this a lot but it's a bit of an acquired taste.
Bhagya: Very caramely but not for everyone.
Elephant House Cookie Cream
|1 L||Rs. 650|
Elephant House does a pretty good job of delivering on the promised flavour. This is more or less vanilla ice cream with crushed cookies. There's a lot of cookie in it so it does change the consistency quite a bit. If you grew up eating ice cream with Milo, chances are you'll like this very much.
Indi: Not crazy about the consistency, but I find myself eating more of this
Bhagya : Personal favourite. 'Kinda has the consistency of ice cream and milo. If you’re a fan of cookie dough, you’ll probably like this.
Elephant House Very Berry
|1 L||Rs. 650|
If you're looking for a berry flavoured ice cream, this is our recommendation. Elephant House has really stepped up its game with their premium range. This one was easily the best of the three berry ice creams we tried, with tons of included strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackcurrant in it.
Shifani: Creamy and very fruity. One of the best on the list.
Indi: Not a fancy ice cream, but enjoyable. Eye popping color.
Bhagya: Creamy with actual pieces of berry. Least artificial and probably the best of the 3 berry ice creams.
Carino Double Chocolate Chip
|500 ml||Rs. 900|
So right off the bat you'll notice that these guys are easily the most expensive of the lot, but that's because they don't use any artificial flavours. This was the best of chocolate flavours we tried. Basically high quality ice cream with high quality ingredients at a high price.
Shifani: Very chocolatey, definitely worth the purchase.
Indi: Very dark chocolatey, good if you like chocolate, which I don't
Bhagya: Definitely the best option for a chocolate lover. Rich chocolate ice cream with a good amount of chocolate chips.
With Christmas around the corner, we've got the seasonal and limited edition premium flavours from both Elephant House and Cargills. We saw a few more flavours by Cargills advertised in the news papers but they were not available even at one of their main outlets.
Cargills Magic Blueberry
|1 L||Rs. 500|
Cargills once again find themselves at the bottom of the list with their limited edition Blueberry flavour. This one suffers from the same shortcoming as their Mixed Berry, tasting very sweet and artificial, despite the addition of actual blueberries. The colour of the ice cream being a very unappetizing gray doesn't really help the cause either.
Indi: Gray, artificial and depressing.
Bhagya: Way too artificial to enjoy. Didn't want to go back after one taste.
Elephant House Rocky Road
|1 L||Rs. 675|
The Rocky Road by EH, at Rs. 675 is priced slightly higher than their usual premium range. This one was quite fun to eat and definitely a unique entry on this list with their addition of marshmallow. It looks a little odd as soon as you open the lid but once you dig into it, it actually tastes pretty good. The marshmallow isn't the usual texture we're used to, instead it's lighter and fluffier, somewhat like a soft meringue.
Indi: Most interesting and fun to eat out of the bunch.
Bhagya: Different take on rocky road, with a nice contrast of textures with the marshmallow and the cashews.
Elephant House Winter Slice
|1.2 L||Rs. 750|
Elephant House has brought back their popular Winter Slice this season as well, and it's pretty great. It's basically a layered loaf with vanilla, chocolate and coffee ice cream. The general consensus at YAMU HQ was that this was the best of the bunch, both in terms of presentation (though we kinda' failed at cutting a slice) and flavour.
Indi: most seasonal of the contenders.
Bhagya: It's like a really big layered ice choc.
We tried what we call 'premium' ice creams, the more expensive varieties that you find in supermarkets rather than kades. With the exception of Alerics, which we thought we'd give a chance, but we needn't have. For each brand we tried to get two flavours (where possible).