We ate all 17 flavors. Here's what we figured out.
When Halo Top, the lower-calorie ice cream currently taking the nation by storm, sends you all 17 of their flavors to try, there is only one thing to do: conduct an incredibly non-scientific taste test to determine which flavor reigns supreme.
The Food & Wine team, with help from our friends at Travel + Leisure, sampled each of Halo Top’s 17 flavors: Chocolate Mocha Chip, Chocolate, Mint Chip, Peanut Butter Cup, Sea Salt Caramel, Strawberry, Red Velvet, Black Cherry, Birthday Cake, Pistachio, Chocolate Almond Crunch, S'Mores, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies n’ Cream, Oatmeal Cookie, Vanilla Bean and Lemon Cake.
And yes, tasting 17 different ice cream flavors is a real physical undertaking. However, we were able to carry out this important study (mostly) guilt-free due to each pint of Halo Top only containing between 240 and 360 calories. As such, there was much rejoicing. Here’s what we learned.
The Most Popular Flavors
Of all 17 Halo Top flavors, there were five that clearly stood out as the most popular: Chocolate Mocha Chip, Peanut Butter Cup, Red Velvet, Oatmeal Cookie and Vanilla Bean, which, to everyone's surprise, was actually number one in our rankings. Executive Food Editor Kate Heddings called it a “winner.” Audience Engagement Editor Kristen Majewski praised it for having “so many vanilla beans!” While other flavors might have sounded more alluring off the bat, the pure simplicity of Halo Top's Vanilla Bean proved to resonate most with our collection of well-tuned palates.
The Least Popular Flavors
Conversely, there were also five specific flavors that our range of official tasters didn’t enjoy quite as much. In particular, Sea Salt Caramel, Black Cherry, Pistachio, Lemon Cake and Cookies n’ Cream, which ranked last in the 17 flavors we tried. The biggest reason why was the major lack of cookies. While the Cookies n' Cream ice cream alluded to its flavor, the texture wasn’t quite what we were looking for (i.e. where are the cookies?) and, as such, Cookies n’ Cream received the metaphorical duntz cap for the day.
Our Biggest Take Aways
The biggest complaint resulted from the flavors that we all think of as having chunks or added textural components, i.e. Cookies n’ Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Mint Chip. While each of the ice creams tasted like those specific flavors, they each lacked their namesake additions that we all wanted more of. Besides that though, Halo Top garnered very positive reviews and might have just won a few new converts in the process.
To learn more about Halo Top, check out our overview here.