Green & Black's Vanilla Ice Cream
Impressive chocolate and vanilla organic ice creams.





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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE and considers ice cream one of the five basic food groups.


July 2007

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Desserts

Green & Black’s Organic Ice Cream

A Chocolate Bar Producer Makes An Impressive Ice Cream


CAPSULE REPORT: Green & Black’s chocolate bars, made in the U.K., have been sold in the U.S. for some time. Now, its ice cream is available as well, made under license according to the the British company’s specifications. They’ve done a jolly good job: these ice creams are superb. If you want an organic and Fair Trade product (and we’re happy to have both), they’re the cherry on top. People who love their chocolate or vanilla—and even those who pass them by for other flavors—should race out to try them.

If you think organic is hot in the U.S., Green & Black’s organic chocolate is the U.K.’s fastest-growing confectionery brand. That prompted corporate giant Cadbury Schweppes to purchase the company (the world’s first organic, Fair Trade chocolate company), in which it had a small stake, in May 2005.

Green & Black’s began in 1991 when Craig Sams, founder of Whole Earth, the pioneering organic food company in the U.K., received a sample of a 70% cacao chocolate bar made from organic cocoa beans. His wife, Josephine Fairley, tasted it, found the flavor intense and unique, and was convinced that other chocolate lovers would appreciate it. As Craig and Jo set about making the world’s first organic chocolate bar 16 years ago, few consumers thought of chocolate bars as anything other than milk, dark and bittersweet chocolate, and few consumers had ever bought anything “organic.” In the tradition of dual-named British confectionary companies (Callard & Bowser, Barker & Dobson), they named the company “Green,” honoring the organic movement, and “Black” for the almost-black color of the 70% cacao chocolate.

Green & Black’s Ice Cream Flavors

Experts say that you should judge an ice cream maker by its vanilla and chocolate: If they can make these well, then the rest will go well. That conventional wisdom seemed to beg for exceptions in an era of fabulous flavors. If a glacier is more conceptually rooted in herbal infusions or layered flavors like Prune Armagnac, he or she may not care to perfect a vanilla and chocolate. But that’s not the situation here: Green & Black’s come out of the gate with a vanilla and chocolate that are are pure heaven. The ice cream is made with a mix of skim milk and cream, which gives it a very nice weight: not too rich, in fact, just perfect.

While U.K. customers enjoy six flavors, the U.S. line is starting with three (go buy them up ASAP so G&B will introduce the other three):

  • Chocolate. If a top chocolate company can’t make a brilliant excellent chocolate ice cream, who can? This doesn’t have to be a rhetorical question: Green & Black’s has made a stunner. Crafted with real chocolate,* not cocoa powder, this ice cream has a superb, chewy quality. Try it next to your current chocolate-of-choice and you may note how G&B’s Chocolate tastes of chocolate, not cocoa. It also tastes of nirvana.
    *Another company that makes ice cream with real chocolate is Dr. Bob’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, which uses Scharffen Berger, and gets the same chewy results. Read our review.
  • Vanilla. Thankfully, the vanilla is just as good, with more pieces of ground vanilla bean seed (a.k.a. “flecks”)—large and small—than we have ever seen. It’s made with whole vanilla bean, not just extract. So many vanilla ice creams, even expensive ones, are out of balance—you can taste the vanilla extract. Whether due to the use of the vanilla pod, superior craftsmanship or both, this one would pass Gordon Ramsay’s muster.
  • White Chocolate With Strawberries. This is an absolutely delicious flavor, although not what many might expect when they make the purchase. There are no strawberries, but a swirl of strawberry preserves. (It’s in the smaller print on the container—the lid and the top banner of the container don’t mention “swirl.”) For those who haven’t had white chocolate ice cream before, the concept isn’t what one might think. There are no cocoa solids in white chocolate—it’s just milk, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla. Thus, there’s no “chocolate” flavor, only creaminess. This ice cream is wonderfully creamy, and for a rich strawberry swirl ice cream, it can’t be beat.

Based on this impressive debut, we hope the rest of the U.K. flavors—Chocolate and Orange, Vanilla and Chocolate Sauce, Vanilla Caramel Nut, White Chocolate & Raspberry Swirl—join them. Soon.

Chocolate, Vanilla, White Chocolate With Strawberry

  • Pint
    Suggested Retail Price

Available at Whole Foods Markets and other fine retailers.

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Green & Black's Chocolate Ice CreamChewy chocolate ice cream.