Last year, I took on the brave work of ranking every flavor of Halo Top. It was cold. It was melty. It was red velvety with occasional chunks of peanut butter. But I made it through only marginally poorer than when I’d started. Now, the makers of this ice-cream-like-stuff that somehow defies the laws of calorie-containing thermodynamics are back with eight new flavors.
And rank them I must. I ran into almost every flavor at Whole Foods the other day, and I had a gift card, so I grabbed them all. After that, I realized I was missing two, which I found at Target. Here they are:
8. Mochi Green Tea
I would describe this flavor as “perfumey.” It doesn’t necessarily taste like green tea, or at least in the way I expected after eating matcha-flavored ice cream in Japan. Instead, it has musky lavender and lime notes. Maaaaybe it tastes like mango green tea but not matcha itself? Either way, I found it really delicious and interesting the first time I tried it. As for the mochi, not so much. That stuff tastes like raw dough covered in powder, but some people love it. You should also know that the second time I tried this flavor, I found it disgusting and threw it away. So there’s that.
7. Pancakes and Waffles
I expected to like this flavor the best. Syrup? Butter? These are just some things that make these breakfast staples great, and logically they should make an amazing ice cream. I should have known something was off when I saw that the flavor was called “pancakes & waffles.” Why both? That’s like naming an ice cream flavor “milk AND cream” or “cocoa AND chocolate.” Things only go downhill from there, as the flavor is sharp, biting and odd. I was trying to pinpoint the source of its weirdness, but could only guess that it is an abundance of artificial sweetener. I’m sad.
6. Cinnamon Roll
I love cinnamon rolls. They’re sticky, syrupy, fatty and delicious. I did not expect this ice cream to capture that well, and it did not. It did have a nice, rich cinnamon taste, and it had a few bites of real cinnamon roll inside. The bites themselves were a bit sharp—maybe too much cinnamon? Overall, it tasted a lot like the Oatmeal Cookie flavor to me. They’re both white, pleasantly spiced and would go well on apple pie. I would pick Oatmeal Cookie over this any time.
5. Caramel Macchiato
When I used to work at Starbucks, caramel macchiatos were my favorite drink to make, mostly because you get to draw a pattern on top with caramel. With fond memories in mind, I dug into this flavor hoping for the best. The first thing I noticed was the smell. The flavoring agents are strong in this one. Indeed, it does have what I would call a “strident” coffee taste. There’s a bit of caramel swirled in, but not enough. As someone who doesn’t really like coffee ice cream, I’ll pass on this one. I’d take Halo Top’s Chocolate Mocha Chip flavor over this one any day.
4. Rainbow Swirl
I initially mistook this flavor for a sherbet, because it looks like one. But this is Halo Top here, so the first ingredients are milk and CREAM, unlike our friend “sherbet,” which has a “minimal butterfat content” according to Wikipedia. Nonetheless, I still expected this rainbow variety to taste low-fat and “healthy.” WRONG! It’s creamy, rich and very delicious, with flavors of bubblegum, lime and melon. Yumtown. (Fun fact: Once I ate so much Starburst sherbet as a kid that I puked!)
3. Chocolate-Covered Banana
I’m a huge fan of making my own ice cream out of frozen bananas, and oftentimes I add cacao powder to give it a chocolate flavor. I felt like this Halo Top might be a little redundant with my own Goop-esque blender treat, but I had to try it, cuz, ranking. Lo and behold, it put my banana mush to shame. It’s fluffy, soft and decadent, with a banana flavor that reminds me of Dip n’ Dots’ banana split flavor. Plus, it is swirled with fudge. This one is a KEEPER.
2. Candy Bar
This name sounds old-timey. Like, “May I perchance be gifted a candy bar to split with sister at Christmas, papa?” Are we talking nougat, peanut butter, nuts, caramel, crackers—what type of candy bar!? This 90’s kid needs answers. I’m not sure, after eating it, if I have them. All I know is it’s tasty, sweet and full of crunchy candy bits.
1. Pumpkin Pie
I tend to fall prey to the pumpkin spice trap when I’m shopping. In fact, I’m burning a Trader Joe’s vanilla pumpkin candle as I write this. It only makes 100% sense that Halo Top would make a pumpkin flavor for people like me. I’m pleased to report that this flavor is perfect. It has just the right amount of spice, pumpkin flavor and richness. Plus it contains chunks of pumpkin pie crust, which is a pleasant surprise. Halo Top, keep this forever please!