Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

A delicious selection of ice creams brought smiles to the faces of all ages. We steered away from popular brands we had tried before, aiming this time at more luxury, and adult tastes, except for inviting one discerning eight-year-old.

Standards were high this year and flavours were fresh and bright. We were impressed with two dairy-free versions.

There’s no getting away from calorific content, so keep the servings small — cones work for us at home, less quantity with less temptation to add more to a bowl. And to control the urge to have just one more scoop, return to the freezer as soon as you scrape out enough for dessert.

Once ice cream defrosts and warms up, it’s not safe to refreeze. Listeria can result which can be serious, and in some cases deadly. This also applies to tubs and blocks brought from shops. Put last into the trolley and go straight home. Never bring on a picnic unless you have a way of keeping it very cold.

As an easy dessert, ice cream is hard to beat. Add summer fruits for extra vitamins and fibre, and a shortbread or wafer biscuit for panache.

Ice cream contains sugar and often salt, so get into the habit of having a glass of water with or after it. It’s important to keep hydrated in all weathers.

1. Marks & Spencer Dessert Menu coffee ice cream 500ml, €5.40

Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

This was described by three of five tasters as perfect — an accolade rarely given.

Rich though not heavy, a vibrant (Colombian) coffee flavour is ideal as a dessert for anyone afraid to risk a large caffeine hit after a meal. Delicious.

Score: 9.5

2. Dunnes Stores Simply Better Cherry Gelato 500ml, €3.69

Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

We expected the eight year old not to like this one, but a good start was the soft texture needing no defrosting, and a mix that was not over sweet.

With a sour cherry compote providing slightly sticky orbs throughout, all tasters agreed it had a fresh, yet warm, flavour.

Score: 8.75

3. Mullins honeycomb 900ml, €4.99

Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

A good creamy texture of vanilla icecream spiked with sticky honeycomb bits appealed to all tasters.

Good value, made in N. Ireland.

Score: 7.75

4. Bunalun Organic chocolate 450ml, €5.99

Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

Dairy, gluten and soy free, this is made from rice drink, tapioca, rice and maple syrups, coconut oil, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, rapeseed oil, baobab flour (from a tree native to Madagascar), vanilla extract.

The flavour is a little dry and isn’t as rich as it looks – a wonderful dark colour, but as a treat for those who prefer dairy free, a good option.

We bought in Supervalu Ballincollig, Co Cork.

Score: 7

5. Nobó Chocolate and toasted almond dairy free 500ml €6.99

Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

One of the most successful dairy-free products we have come across, this is made from coconut milk, honey, avocado, cocoa powder, toasted almond, sea salt. All tasters liked it, including those not avoiding dairy, eggs, gluten, sugar etc.

The rich chocolate mixture is topped with toasted almond nibs. Its Irish name NO BÓ of course means no cow! Delicious.

Score: 9.25

6. Aldi Yellow Man Honeycomb 500ml, €3.79

Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

Good chunky bits of honeycomb are throughout the deliciously creamy vanilla icecream giving a sweetness that is not overpowering.

Popular with tasters. Made by Glastry Farm, Co Down.

Score: 7.75

7. Oppo Colombian chocolate and hazelnut 475ml, €6.75

Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

Deliciously rich chocolate and ample toasted hazelnut nibs make for interesting flavour which is not too sweet.

The eight-year-old liked it as it reminded her of Nutella. Gluten free, it has fruit extracts and sweeteners from natural sources (erythritol and steviol glucosides) instead of a lot of sugar. Made in UK by Ocado.

We bought in SuperValu Ballincollig, Co Cork.

Score: 8

8. Lidl de luxe salted caramel and praline 480ml, €2.79

Top luxury ice creams to choose from this summer

Vanilla ice cream has drifts of salted caramel and caramelised praline pecan nuts providing quite a satisfying chew.

Tasters liked the texture of the ice cream, but found the overall taste too sweet.

They ate lots of spoonfuls, though.

Score: 6.75

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