Whenever there is mention of using a dairy alternative, it seems the first thought that comes to everyone’s mind is soy and coconut. While many are based on those two, Rice Dream is changing it up with their rice-based ice creams and treats.
One that I have been particularly eager to trial is rice-based “ice cream.” Though I have been quite pleased with two of the soy-based brands, one can not live on soy alone. As soy cheeses and tofu have begun sneaking into my refrigerator, the need to swap out some other soy treats for rice or nut based options has crossed my mind.
Tasting Notes for Rice Dream
So began my first non-soy, non-dairy frozen dessert adventure. In my local area, there are two mainstream brands. After checking both out online, I went for the most alluring slogan first. Yes, the marketing gurus of Rice Dream deserve (dairy-free) brownie points for coming up with, “Discover how delicious dairy-free can be.”
For our first trials, I reached for pints of Orange/Vanilla (now Discontinued), Carob Almond (now Discontinued), and Mint Carob Chip. With scoops and bowls in hand, I called in some eager taste-testers. Somehow there is never any shortage of samplers when frozen dessert is involved.
As I attempted to scoop the Rice Dream from the pint, I noticed a difference between this rice-based dessert and its soy and dairy rivals. It tended to “chunk” rather than roll smoothly within our utensils. Nonetheless, the creamy appearance still held promise.
The solid texture melted quickly on my tongue into a deliciously sweet “milk”. But then, the smooth flavors gave way to a an unfamiliar bitterness. We all concurred that it must be a natural side affect of the brown rice base, and possibly unavoidable.
Aside from this after effect, I was quite pleased with the natural vanilla flavor. In small quantities I continued to enjoy this take on an old favorite, but too many consecutive bites seemed to stockpile the bitter-syrup combination. Of course, the reviews were quite mixed. One taste tester enjoyed the flavors and could detect only sweetness. Another proclaimed the frozen dessert far to bitter and immediately moved onto the next flavor. I fell somewhere in between, somewhat pleased, but not sold.
Mint Carob Chip (Now has High Cross-Contamination Potential with Milk)
I was a bit hesitant on this flavor. The Mint Pies from Rice Dream that we tasted the week prior seemed to be injected with extreme peppermint. I feared the same for this pint, but felt it was our duty to put it to the test with no preconceptions.
This was the perfect flavor for the cool and refreshing ice milk feel of Rice Dream. Alas, it was still too minty for any of our taste-testers. The concept worked: light, creamy, peppermint dotted with small chunks of carob. If only we could get the “ice cream” crafters at Imagine Foods to use a lighter hand with the peppermint oil. The strong minty flavor seemed to enhance the bitter undertones.
Luckily, all was not lost. Though this flavor was too potent when solo, I suddenly had the craving for a chocolate mint shake! We blended equal parts Rice Dream Mint Carob Chip and chocolate hemp milk and reached milkshake perfection. Even our bitter-taster was thoroughly satisfied!
Organic Cocoa Marble Fudge
Unlike some of the other Rice Dream flavors we had trialled, my ice cream scoop glided with ease through what appeared to be a relatively soft texture. I was finally able to serve up those picture perfect round balls of “ice cream” that I had been striving for.
With my first spoonful I did confirm that this version was a bit smoother than the other varieties. It still retained more of an ice milk feel, but it exuded a silkier more fluid behavior. Then it struck me. The flavor, the texture, it was all so familiar. De ja vu hit, I knew that I had experienced this somewhere before. Of course, it was so evident, how could I have missed it? It was a fudgesicle! If someone took a fudgesicle and packed it into an ice cream container, this would be it! From the kid-friendly chocolate flavor, right down to the dense, yet refreshing consistency, there was no other way to describe it than fudgesicle. I turned to the others and announced my discovery. They each concurred that it did have that fudgesicle essence.
It took a few bites before I noticed, but the occasional ribbon of fudge was intertwined within. More childhood flashbacks hit, as I noted the Hershey-like quality of this thick chocolate syrup. It was a nice addition. As we reminisced, it was agreed that these chocolate flavors did tend to meld best with the rice-based backdrop. Of the quart flavors, Cocoa Marble Fudge was the hands down favorite of every taste tester.
But we haven’t tried the Organic Strawberry Rice Dream yet!
The Facts On Rice Dream Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
Certifications: Rice Dream is Certified Kosher Parve and Non-GMO Verified. Some varieties are Certified Organic.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Rice Dream is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Select varieties are gluten-free and soy-free. Nonetheless, read the label and check with the company on their manufacturing processes before consumption if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Rice Dream website at dreamplantbased.com