Now that the tara gum and other additive controversy has taken hold, I have made a point to check labels when at the supermarket. Not long ago I was at Whole Foods and noticed that their Breyers Natural Vanilla didn’t have tara gum in it. I immediately purchased it. At home I compared it to the Breyers Natural Vanilla I already had in my freezer (with tara gum). The containers look virtually identical (though not quite). However, the expiration date on the more recently purchased ice cream (without tara gum) was 6 months earlier than the date for the container with tara gum. This lead me to conclude that either a) the ice cream I had gotten without tara gum was made before the ice cream with tara gum and had just been distributed later b) the ice cream without tara gum goes bad more quickly than that without and/or c) Whole Foods can still get the ice cream without the tara gum. Quite frankly, I have no idea what the answer is. I can, however, tell you the difference in taste as I tasted them side by side (in a blind taste test so I didn’t initially know which was which).
Breyers with tara gum tastes different than that without. No question. It is creamier, but not it a good way. It has an artificial texture to it. You know when you’re eating the inside of an Oreo or Twinkie and you just know it isn’t natural, it’s got a lard-ish texture, creamy, but in a sticky way. That’s what it feels like– a little sticky. It also tastes slightly less intensely vanilla. I’m not sure if that is because of the tara gum or a new freezing method. Breyers Natural Vanilla with tara gum doesn’t taste like Breyers Natural Vanilla anymore. It reminds me more of the yellow-colored artificial vanilla ice creams. It’s not nearly as bad as those, but it’s not very good. Unilever needs to bring back Breyers Natural Vanilla Bean without tara gum.
From now on I am going to start buying Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean. I don’t know how extensive their distribution is in DC I have only found it at Shoppers. But, it doesn’t have tara gum and tastes much better than the new Breyers. Actually, my top choice for vanilla would be Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean. Unfortunately, that has too many calories for a daily scoop. What other gum-free vanilla ice cream brands have you found that you would recommend?
The ice cream container on top contains tara gum, the one pictured below it does not.