I think ice cream is one of those almost universally loved treats. Whether you're a kid at the seaside or you've ended up with a scoop of something decadent on the side of a restaurant dessert, ice cream is essentially awesome.
Before Christmas, Oppo got in touch and asked me if I fancied reviewing their three new low calorie, low carb ice creams. Given my almost constant state of dieting, that's a hard thing to pass up. During some initial conversations I was told the Oppo flavours were 'diabetes friendly' too.
Normally I'd be wary of such a claim. Many of us (rightly) associate 'diabetic ice cream' with the addition of a bunch of polyols that have unpleasant laxative effects if consumed in any great quantity. You'll be pleased to hear that Oppo has none of those unpleasant things added to it. The lower carb/calorie content comes from switching out cream and cane sugar for whole milk, Stevia and coconut oil.
The premise is that Oppo have taken 3 flavours and boosted them with an added touch to each one. There's Vanilla & Baobab, Salted Caramel & Lucuma and Mint Choc swirl with Spirulina.
And here's the nutritional info from the back of each tub. I've tried to get as much of the ingredients in as possible too:
As you can hopefully see, each two-scoop portion for each flavour is around 85 calories each, with around 9g of carbs per portion too. Pretty good in my opinion.
Now reviewing ice cream is a tricky business as flavour is an incredibly subjective thing but here we go:
I'll admit I was a little sceptical of the Mint Choc Swirl with Spirulina when I saw the three flavours that were available. Mint Chocolate is one of my all time faves, and I've had mixed experiences with Spirulina when using it in juices/shakes.
I'm relieved to be able to tell you that this is my favourite of the three and that the addition of Spirulina hasn't been at the expense of the mint-chocolatey goodness. The Mint Choc is also the softest of the three in my experience and there's no trouble scooping straight from the freezer
|Mint Choc yum!|
|Vanilla - hopefully the flecks come through!|
One observation I've got about the latter two is that they're solid ice creams - literally. If you've ever experienced trying to eat something like Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough straight from the freezer, you'll know what I mean. Whilst the Mint Choc is soft enough to scoop straight from the freezer, I found better results with both Vanilla and Salted Caramel if I got them out a few minutes before I wanted to eat them. That's not a criticism (in my experience, those 'harder' ice creams tend to be better), but just a public service announcement.
In the interests of fairness, I opened up the review process to both my wife and (five year old) daughter. Whilst kids need no encouragement to tuck into ice cream, Mrs Hoverboards is a little less easy to please (particularly when it comes to added ingredients like baobab, lucuma and spirulina) so I thought the opinions of both of them might add some context.
My daughter's views can be accurately summed up with the sentence "can I have some more?!" - nothing too unexpected there I suppose.
Mrs Hoverboards was equally complementary too. "It tastes like actual ice cream" was her immediate feedback. And she's right. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but I think if you're making a new product in a market where everyone has a lot of preconceptions about what ice cream is, to have something that ticks the boxes on flavour and texture is a good thing.
So, the conclusion - would I go out and buy it? That's a tough one I think. Oppo is branded as luxury ice cream, and it definitely comes with a luxury price tag (around £5.49 per 500ml tub). It's not necessarily easy to get hold of either. I had to visit 2 stores to pick up all three flavours, and when you live a 25 minute drive from one of them, you certainly feel like you're working for your luxury. (You can find your nearest stockists via the "Stockists" link on the Oppo website).
I think if you're a regular purchaser of other luxury brands like Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry's, you should definitely give this a look in. Per 100ml Oppo has about 80 calories, compared with 225 cals in Haagen Dazs Vanilla (and even 150 in WeightWatchers Vanilla). It has significantly less fat that the Haagen Dazs alternative (and about 10% less fat than the WeightWatchers Vanilla too).
Let's be honest, spending over a fiver on a tub of ice cream is an extravagance - there's no other way to say it. But if you're prepared to spend the cash, you could definitely do a lot worse than spend it here.
I rarely have ice cream in because I know I'm easily tempted to eat a lot of it and I know it'll make a big dent in my daily calorie allowance. With Oppo I've been able to eat it without compromising what else I'm eating, and I've done that as part of a reduced calorie diet. That ticks the boxes for me personally speaking.
At the time of writing, a £1 off coupon was available from Oppo's website if you hit the homepage. If there's a stockist near you - give it a go and see what you think. It's a lot to do with personal taste at the end of the day
Ultimately, for me, I think it tastes good, one serving has fewer calories than a slice of bread and it's low fat. Would I spend a fiver on it? Occasionally, I think I would (that Mint Choc is very nice). But I'd probably struggle to justify the cost if I went through it at any great rate.