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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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A definitive ranking of the best dairy-free ice creams readily available in most Irish supermarkets

There are more options than ever, but which ones are worth trying?

10. Swedish Glace 

Walls_300x300_Swedish-Glace-Choc176-1196576 Source: HB

You’ve got to give some credit to HB here, because they brought Swedish Glace ice cream out some time ago. A long time before other brands, and even Tesco Free From were making ice cream alternatives. However, it has ranked so low here because it’s just so plain. Regardless of whether you’ve gotten chocolate or vanilla, or any of the other flavours, there’s nothing about this ice cream that’ll have you excited for your next bowl. It wouldn’t hurt anyone to see a little raspberry ripple thrown in there somewhere. 

In terms of price, it’s not too bad. A 750ml tub is going for €4.30. 

9. Nobó Chocolate and Toasted Almond 

5392000088306_3

Okay, this ice cream has the potential to be in the top five. But it’s not. The first person on this planet to mix chopped nuts with ice cream was a genius, because in the vast majority of cases, it makes such an improvement to both the texture and the flavour. It’s a wonder there aren’t more ice cream brands out there making ice cream with nuts – but maybe they go soggy or something.

Maybe it’s the fear of making the almonds soggy that holds this ice cream back. The first few spoonfuls you’ll have of this will be amazing, because that’s where all of the almonds are. It won’t be until you get a few scoops below the surface that you realise that there’ no more nuts in the ice cream. They were only on top of it, and you ate them all. You idiot. 

Look:

step5 Source: Nobó

The almonds are the best bit of this ice cream, and you only get a thin layer of them at the top. The chocolate ice cream on its own isn’t anything special, and you’re basically spending €7 on it. You might as well just buy a cheaper tub of dairy free ice cream and throw some nuts in yourself. 

8. Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Chunk Monkey

Chunky_Monkey_ND-6633_OG Source: Ben & Jerry's

While Ben & Jerry’s have some decent offerings in the way of dairy-free ice cream alternatives, the Chunky Monkey is just a tad disappointing. Unlike the other flavours in the range, the ice cream itself is kinda sickly sweet and a bit too banana-y. You definitely wouldn’t push a bowl of it away in disgust or anything, but you definitely wouldn’t enjoy it as much as you would the others. 

7. Bunalun Organic Raspberry Ice Cream Alternative

raspberry Source: Bunalun

Although the regular shopper might have not have Bunalun’s products on their radar, vegans, coeliacs, posh mams who only buy food with “organic” written on the label, and the lactose intolerant all hold this brand dear to their heart. 

There’s a fairly big gap in the market for fruit-flavoured dairy-free ice cream alternatives. Every company seems to think that we don’t know the difference between sorbet and ice cream. Bunalun’s offering does the job though. The down side is that if you wanna spoon this into you, you’ll have to fork over €7 per tub. This is definitely available in Tesco, but we’re not 100% on the situation in Dunnes or Supervalu.

6. Nobó’s Irish Salted Caramel 

5392000088337_3 Source: Nobó

This ice cream is genuinely delicious, however it’s something you can only enjoy in small doses. One scoop at a time maybe. With some pancakes, or a slice of cake or something like that. It’s totally perfect as an accompaniment, but it’s not something I could ever see myself sitting down and eating in one sitting, which is probably for the best. In terms of price, this one’s a bit steep too, at €7, which seems to be the standard price for a 500ml tub of dairy free ice cream. They definitely stock this in Supervalu and Tesco, so it’s most likely in the freezers at Dunnes too. 

5. Dunnes Stores Caramel Dairy Free Ice Cream 

No pics online unfortunately, for some reason Dunnes aren’t as interested in marketing their dairy free selection as a lot of other shops are. 

Because there is no photograph to illustrate what this ice cream looks like, I will give you a very brief description. It’s a short tub, maybe 3/4 the size of a regular 500ml ice cream tub, and it’s made of hard white plastic, rather than the cardboard-y stuff the other brands use. The ice cream is vanilla, but there’s caramel rippled throughout it and a good dose of caramel on top. 

Taste-wise, it’s quite nice. Nothing about it tastes dairy free. It’s creamy and very satisfying, but unfortunately it gets a bit boring, unless you’re eating it with something else. You wouldn’t sit down and eat a whole tub of this in one go – or, at least, you certainly wouldn’t enjoy it from beginning to end if you decided to do that. There’s no price online, but it’s definitely cheaper than the Ben & Jerry’s/Nobó desserts, which is a big plus. 

4. Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy P.B. & Cookies 

PB_Cookies_ND-6647_OG Source: Ben & Jerry's

Peanut butter is nice all of the time, but especially when it’s frozen. As disgusting as it sounds when you try and put it into words, there’s something so nice about a frozen, soggy Oreo too, and that’s what makes this.

Nobody buys Ben & Jerry’s for plain old ice cream. The reason we all love it is because of the OTT fillings and toppings, the brownie cores, the little added marshmallows and the weird fish-shaped chocolate chips. This ice cream is as close as you’re going to get to reliving that if you’re lactose intolerant, vegan or just constantly hyperaware of the impending suffering that climate change is going to bring.

Anyway, back to the ice cream: between the cookies and the peanut butter, there’s so many different textures and flavours going on in this ice-cream substitute that you barely even notice the ice cream itself, which is actually really convincingly creamy. All it’s missing is chocolate chips, but nobody is going to stop you from adding those yourself. 

3. Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Chocolate Fudge Brownie 

Chocolate_Fudge_Brownie_ND-6667_OG Source: Ben & Jerry's

This one gets 3rd place because it’s sooo similar to the regular dairy version of Chocolate Fudge Brownie (though, there’s definitely a stronger taste of dark chocolate off of this one – which is a good thing, unless you are just a little baby who does not like dark chocolate). 

The ice cream part of this is super creamy, and it’s so properly chocolatey that it really doesn’t need any extra ingredients thrown in to distract us from its shortcomings in terms of texture and flavour, because there are none. This ice cream could probably still impress without the brownie chunks, but they are a huge bonus, and we would not complain if there were even more added to it. As with all of the Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free alternatives, the big downside is the price.

These are all going for about €7.45 in Tesco, which means they’re probably just gonna be a special occasion thing, unless you can grab a load of them when they go on sale (which is often enough, in fairness). 

2. Marks and Spencer’s Chocolate & Caramel Sticks 

VFA2018_Icecream Source: M&S

Oh boy. These are so nice. Just as good as any choc ice or Magnum made with cow’s milk, these alternatives are so indulgent and will satisfy any ice cream craving that you’ve got. They take everything that’s right about the Dunnes Stores alternative to ice cream and accepted that it’s probably a bit tiresome on its own, so they decided to wrap the whole thing up in chocolate.

You actually couldn’t fault these on their taste, but they only managed to get 2nd place because they’re a little bit pricier than the ice creams below and Marks & Spencer is definitely less accessible to the majority of Irish people (in terms of location) than Tesco is.

1. Tesco’s Free From Toffee and Vanilla Cones and their Strawberry and Vanilla Cones. 

Tesco-Free-From-Toffee-And-Vanilla-Cones-4-Pack-440Ml- Source: Tesco

These are perfect in every single way. You could not fault them. They taste exactly like a regular Cornetto, and while the cone itself is a bit spongy because it’s gluten free, it’s not really an issue at all.

They need to start selling these individually before summer rolls around, so people who don’t eat dairy can swan in and buy a single one if the mood hits them. There’s definitely a big market for individually packed vegan ice creams, because people who don’t eat dairy are all sick of only having two different flavours of Calippo to choose from on a hot day.

The price is so reasonable as well, at €2.85 for a 4 pack. Makes you wonder what the hell is in an actual Cornetto if these ones that taste exactly the same can be produced so cheaply without a trace of dairy. 

Also an honourable mention for these, which are also delicious but fall under the category of ice-pop, rather than ice cream:

IDShot_540x540 Source: Tesco

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Kelly Earley

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