You've probably tried Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, but what about all the indie ice cream brands that seem to be popping up left and right? The next time you reach into the freezer at your grocery store, see if you can find one of these five incredible regional brands. You might never look back.
Paul Nasrani, the founder of Adirondack Creamery, left his job in finance to start making ice cream around 2003. The mission is to keep the ice cream simple, farm-fresh, and delicious. What started out as a seasonal stand has led to the ice cream being distributed in over 100 grocery stores in the tri-state area.
The ice cream for Adirondack Creamery is simple, but delicious – just like it aims to be. It's feels more dense and silky when compared to the rest of the brands – kind of like a sophisticated version of Häagen-Dazs. The ice cream includes many classic flavors, all of which would be great paired with seasonal pie.
Favorite Flavor: Banana Chip
McConnell's was founded in 1949 in Santa Barbara, California. In the 70 years, since it started, this company remains true to their mission: They use the best organic, raw ingredients imaginable. You can find them in scoop shops throughout California, select grocery stores, and online.
Everything from McConnell's is fresh and vibrant. This flavor-forward brand does something with fruit that I've never tasted before – it's as if you were editing an Instagram photo and bumped the saturation all the way up. It's intense and creamy in the best way possible. McConnell's simply does chunk right.
Favorite Flavors: Sea Salt Cream & Cookies and Eureka Lemon and Marionberries
Three Twins started in 2005 with the mission to create delicious organic and affordable ice cream. It donates one percent of all sales to land conservation initiatives, and serves its ice cream in compostable dishes. Based in California, Three Twins has four scoop shops, but you can also find it in many grocery stores across the country; it's also available online for purchase.
If you want chocolate ice cream that really tastes like chocolate, this is your gal. When I took this out of the freezer to try, I noticed it was immediately easy to scoop compared to other brands. It's more of a pillow-y texture, but also perfectly creamy.
Favorite Flavor: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Phin & Phebes started in late 2011. Founders Crista Freeman and Jess Eddy wanted to create an ice cream that was unpretentious, good for all ages, and tasted great. They also wanted everything to be all-natural. You can now find the ice cream across 30 states, and it's available to purchase online.
Phin & Phebes takes ice cream flavors you know and love and makes them a little more special — instead of coffee ice cream, you have Vietnamese iced coffee; instead of Key lime pie ice cream, you have coconut Key lime pie. Every bite is uniform and delicious.
Favorite Flavor: Toasted Green Tea
Based in Portland, Oregon, Salt & Straw started in 2011 with a small ice cream cart. They have since expanded to scoop shops in Portland and Los Angeles. They partner with chefs and local artisans to create unique ice cream flavors. Each small-batch flavor uses local cream alongside other organic ingredients. You can purchase Salt & Straw online.
Salt & Straw is anything but vanilla. Their insanely unique flavors push the envelope without sacrificing quality. I was particularly enamored of the Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper because it was able to be creamy and slightly sour and still taste like the best thing you've ever put in your mouth.
Favorite Flavor: Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper