Friday, 29 August 2014

What's your favourite ice-cream? C1 level

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The best caramel ice-cream: taste test

Is Ben & Jerry's Caramel Chew Chew the ultimate incarnation of this ice-cream flavour, or can the supermarkets' own brands compare? We put them to the test
Everybody loves ice-cream, right? As we bask in the last rays (and/or torrential rains) of the British summer, it seems only fitting to end the holidays with a spoon firmly stuck into a tub of frozen cream and swirly sweet "bits". We asked the big high-street players to send us their best rivals to that Guardian food desk – nay, national – favourite, Ben & Jerry's Caramel Chew Chew. But how did the own brands compare?

Ben & Jerry's Caramel Chew Chew

 You know the drill: thick, dense ice-cream; well-distributed swirls of intense caramel (the listed salt presumably giving it its slight savoury edge); rich, chocolatey caramel cups that, crucially, melt readily; and, overall, an ice-cream of smooth, fulsome flavours that stops just short of sickliness. As Ben or Jerry might say, it's a doozy.

Marks & Spencer, The Ultimate Caramel Ice-Cream

 A grownup, bits-free caramel ice-cream made in the West Country with whole milk and whipping cream. The caramel flavour is a little meek and it finishes with a curious twang (there is salt and concentrated lemon juice in there, which may explain that). A cashmere jumper of an ice-cream: silky-smooth and supposedly sophisticated but, ultimately, rather boring.

Waitrose, Heston from Waitrose Salted Caramel Popcorn Ice-Cream,

"All your cinema favourites rolled into one …" to create a, well, horrific video nasty. You know how eating popcorn is a bit like eating bird feed and Styrofoam? Well, imagine that in an ice-cream also packed with hard shards of salted caramel. True, they have a great treacly, brown sugar flavour, but it is a textural nightmare. Like The Godfather III or Sex Lives of the Potato Men, this is what happens when no one has the backbone to take the talent to one side and say: "You know what, Heston? This is a rubbish idea."

Aldi, Gianni's Cheeky Monkey Ice-Cream

 "Chocolate flavour dairy ice-cream with a marshmallow flavour sauce, caramel flavoured sauce and chocolate flavour monkey face shapes." Note: everything in that list is a "flavour" of, a doppelganger for not the actual thing. That can be nice. The dark, cocoa powder profile of the incredibly dense ice-cream is not unpleasant. The "marshmallow" sauce, however, is terrible. Those "chocolate flavour" faces taste cheap and oily but melt readily and, hey, while a zoologist might quibble, they do look reasonably like monkeys. The whole shebang gets sickly quickly.
For kids? 6/10. Adults? 4/10

Sainsbury's, Taste the Difference Toffee and Honeycomb Ice-Cream

Cynically, you may read the blurb – "farmhouse … Devon … handmade toffee sauce … milk from Jersey cows … fresh, natural ingredients …" – and roll your eyes. But taste it and you will eat, if not your words, then a large portion. This is extra-thick, supra-creamy ice-cream that has its own coolly understated toffee flavour, but it is those thick seams of toffee sauce – salted, beautifully rich, long on dark muscovado notes – that are sensational. I found cant "crisp honeycomb"; it appeared to have melted into the ice-cream. Nonetheless, a mature alternative to Caramel Chew Chew.

Tesco Finest West Country Fudge Ice-Cream

Lustrously thick, velvety ice-cream whose fudgy flavour is well modulated. It becomes gradually more concentrated as you progress through the ice-cream, yielding fudge pieces to a knockout sauce – which, although supposedly rippled, does tend to collect in swirled cores. Should you want to mix'n'match, Tesco Finest's chocolate (£3) is also impressive: 70% Tanzanian cocoa solids give it a fruity, black forest gateau-like character. 7/10

Asda, Chewy Chewy Caramel

Full marks for testing the patience of Ben & Jerry's lawyers with that name, but the ice-cream itself feels a little thin and overly aerated (its chief ingredient appears to be reconstituted skimmed milk). It is also "loaded" with nearly 27% toffee sauce (excellent), caramel pieces and milk chocolate caramel cups, but those cups lack instant meltability (real chocolate, see?) and the sauce is timid.

Source - The Guardian - 28th August 2014

Vocabulary Builder:

incarnation - (noun) a person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit, or quality.

bask - (verb) lie exposed to warmth and light, typically from the sun, for relaxation or pleasure.

swirly - (adj) movin =g in or characterized by swirling shapes or patterns.

muscovado - (noun) unrefined sugar made from the juice of sugar cane by evaporating it and draining off the molasses.

doozy - (noun) north american informal, something outstanding or unique of its kind.

meek - (adj) quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive.

twang - (noun)  a strong taste or flavour which stands out, can also be used to describe a nasal sound.

aerated - (adj) (of a liquid) made effervescent by being charged with carbon dioxide or some other gas. (verb) introduce air to a material.

Styrofoam - (noun) (Trademark) a kind of expanded polystyrene used especially food containers.

treacly - (adj) resembling treacle in consistency, taste or appearance.

doppelganger - (noun) a apparition or double of a living person (or in this case, ice-cream).

Questions for Students 

 Taste experiment; Choose 2 supermarkets in your area and 2 ice-creams and compare, just like they've done in the article above.
Is ice-cream over rated?
Where do they make the best ice-cream?

For English classes via Skype, Contact Lisa by email or Whatsapp 0034645424237.




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