The Austin Chronicle

Nick’s Ice Creams Ain't From Around Here

By Wayne Alan Brenner, July 27, 2020, 10:30am, On the Range

National Ice Cream Day is so last week that …well, it was last week, wasn’t it? Which is why Jessi Cape told you about a yummy bevy of cool-and-creamy options from Austin-based companies then. But, this week, what?


This week, let’s take a look at Nick’s Ice Creams. It’s ice cream from a company that “believes you don’t have to compromise deliciousness for healthiness,” and so it’s not so much about the dairy fat and the usual buckets of sugar, relying instead on plant-based fats and alternative sweeteners (stevia and allulose, for instance) to reduce the calories – the kind of calories that are often called “empty” calories by people who don’t like to have any fun ever.

It’s not vegan, mind you, this brand; but it’s plant-based.

Nick’s isn’t a local company, either. In fact, Nick’s Ice Creams is a Swedish company. Which might seem odd at first: Such a typical American-sounding name, and it’s from Sweden? But please recall that the big frozen-confection treat of your much younger years – Häagen-Dazs – was actually American-made, straight out of Brooklyn. And that the other super-premium dessert that sounded Scandinavian AF back in the day, Frusen Glädjé? Came from a diary cooperative in upstate New York. So maybe consider this a turnabout-is-fair-play situation, hmmmm?

Anyway, Nick’s Ice Creams, which debuted in the U.S. last October, is now available in 3500 stores in this country. The sad part of that fact is that none of those stores are in Austin. The happier part of that fact is that Nick’s is available direct-to-the-consumer, even here … and you could be that consumer.

It’s happier – if you’re wanting to try something other than our beloved local ice creams, for some reason, and you’re maybe overwhelmed with how wonderfully delicious this city’s vegan ice creams are – because, the Nick’s products we’ve sampled, some of them are pretty damn good.

Healthy? Okay. Tasty? Hell yeah.

For instance: Nick’s has a line of caramel flavors among their bestsellers, and they definitely won our tastebuds’ affection. Sälta Karamell. Coffee Karamell. Peanöt Butter Karamell. And so on. And that plain salted caramel one, especially? Can take up residence in our freezer any old time it wants. It’ll disappear quickly, to be sure, but it’s welcome back any time.

Nick’s also offers a cookie dough variety, but it’s a Swedish cookie dough variety. So it’s a little different, for one thing. And, for another thing, it’s good enough to make you go like, “Mmmmmm, okay, this stuff is terrific. Now, how about some actual Swedish cookies to go with it, huh? Why are you holding out on me, you parsimonious Scandihoovians, where the hell are my goddamn cookies?” And you look around for an accompanying bag of Swedish cookie-dough cookies somewhere, and there’s not a single one to be found, and it gives you a sad.

We should tender one warning, though. Pardon our negativity, but we’re big mint chocolate chip ice cream fans. And, whereas the other Nick’s flavors we tried were redolent of yum and craving, the one they call Mint Chokladchip? Was a sharp disappointment. We can even be specific about it – accurately specific. Because one of the sweeteners used in that particular flavor? Was xylitol. And, unlike with the other flavors, that xylitol in the Mint Chokladchip was a bit too belligerent – we’d almost say it micro-aggressed us – and we reckon that’s why Nick’s mint chocolate chip didn’t taste so much like natural mint as it tasted like a sugar-free breath mint. Which are fine things, maybe, as breath fresheners. But not necessarily the kind of flavor, with that faint metallic aftertaste, that you want as part of your ice cream experience.

And that’s our review.

And now we’re gonna go and research what kind of cookies result from that Swedish dough, see if we can procure a few thousand pounds of them to accompany our raging coffee habit, and we’ll get back to you soon.

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