1. Florida

We tasted Publix’s new summer ice cream flavors

A clear favorite quickly emerged.
Photo courtesy of Publix.
Photo courtesy of Publix.
Published Jun. 10, 2019|Updated Jun. 10, 2019

It began as a misunderstanding.

My editor asked me what time we should post this story about local ice cream spots. I interpreted it as, “WANT TO HAVE AN ICE CREAM SOCIAL TOMORROW?”

But, like, no really, should we have an ice cream social?

Our heat-addled brains couldn’t resist. It was part party, part useful taste test. We had our staff taste 6 of the 8 new limited edition summer ice cream flavors from Publix to determine if they’re worth your time.

Sold in one-quart tubs, the grocery store has been rolling out different Publix Premium flavors depending on the season. This crop included flavors like Southern Banana Pudding and Strawberry Shortcake. (We were yearning for something with peaches.) The containers were delightful, colorful and artfully designed. Several people asked, “Is this Publix brand?"

According to Publix: “Our new Publix Premium ice cream is designed to evoke the flavor personality of each product. Using art as a backdrop to our photography, we worked with artists in various mediums to create ‘visual interpretations’ of each flavor. The packaging is a reflection of the contents. Ice cream is art, after all.”

Here’s what we thought about the new batch (we couldn’t find Chocolate Cookie Quarry or Cookie Butter Creme at our local store).

Boston Crème Donut

Photo courtesy of Publix.
Photo courtesy of Publix.

Description from Publix: Bavarian crème-flavored ice cream with chocolate-flavored icing and cake pieces throughout.

What we thought: This was one of the emptier containers by the end of our taste test. The name alone seemed to draw people to it.

“Doughnut flavoring is usually a hoax, a flavor that’s impossible to replicate. Doughnuts are dougnuts!” one taster said. “But this comes pleasingly close, thanks to the cream flavor, which is pretty close to realistic.”

Someone else said this was the best flavor, thanks to its “good pastry.”

One taster said she would indeed prefer just eating a doughnut.

“I was expecting to be more excited by it.”

Southern Banana Pudding

Photo courtesy of Publix.
Photo courtesy of Publix.

Description from Publix: A delicious taste of home. French custard ice cream with swirls of creamy banana sauce and bits of vanilla wafers.

What we thought: The overwhelming reaction to this flavor was summed up nicely by one taster: “It doesn’t taste like fresh bananas, but it does taste like banana pudding.”

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An artificial banana flavor is definitely present, though whether you like that or not will depend on what you’re looking for.

“Love the 'Nilla Wafer surprise,” said a taster. “Would have liked real bananas.”

“I love bananas as a mix-in,” someone else said. “Swirl a dollop of caramel or peanut butter in here, and it’s a winner.”

“Tastes like banana Runts,” my editor said, referencing the candy. “But the banana and doughnut flavors accidentally mixed together was kind of amazing.”

Strawberry Shortcake

Photo courtesy of Publix.
Photo courtesy of Publix.

Description from Publix: Butter-crème flavored ice cream swirled with ribbons of chunky strawberry-flavored sauce and layered with squares of soft shortcake. It doesn’t get much sweeter than this.

What we thought: There wasn’t much chatter about this flavor, maybe because it didn’t taste that much different from your standard strawberry. It was a pretty pinkish color, and it did feel like one of the more summery flavors.

“Very creamy, delish,” said one taster. “Love the bits of shortcake.”

Peanut Butter Pretzel Crunch

Photo courtesy of Publix.
Photo courtesy of Publix.

Description from Publix: The perfect mix of salty and sweet, yum! Peanut butter ice cream with fudge swirls and chocolate-flavored pretzel nibs.

What we thought: “Yum!”, indeed. This was a top pick among many of our tasters for its salty-sweet-crunchy vibe. It’s hard to stop eating it once you start.

“Lives up to its name,” one taster said. “Delightful crunch. My favorite flavor.”

Someone else said the peanut flavor overpowers, and another called it “average, and very sweet.”

“Pretzels are an underrated flavor,” said another taster. “They impart a pleasant saltiness that lingers.”

Pecan Turtle Fudge

Photo courtesy of Publix.
Photo courtesy of Publix.

Description from Publix: This one is loaded with flavor! Butter pecan ice cream combined with swirls of Mackinac butter pecan fudge, pecan fudge chunks, and roasted pecans.

What we thought: Everyone went, um, nuts for this one. With some nice pecan pieces and a butter pecan base, this had a nice rich flavor.

“This wouldn’t last long enough to get into the freezer after grocery shopping,” said one taster who compared this to one of her all-time favorite ice cream flavors, Hula Hula Macadamia Nut. “Some hot fudge drizzle wouldn’t overwhelm this either.”

This and the peanut butter flavor seemed to be the most popular, evidenced most by how empty the containers were by the end of the tasting.

Red Velvet Cake

Photo courtesy of Publix.
Photo courtesy of Publix.

Description from Publix: Scrumptious ice cream with spirals of cream cheese icing, rich red velvet cake pieces, and roasted pecans. You can’t miss out on this!

What we thought: This was one of the least liked flavors. Surprisingly, it was barely scooped compared to some of the other options. Maybe our tasters felt like Red Velvet Cake ice cream was too much of an indulgence for summer? Or maybe the flavor just didn’t lean far enough into its cake inspiration.

“Why isn’t it red? Why are there nuts? Why is there no cream cheese icing?” one taster pondered.

Someone else said: “This Red Velvet has no distinct flavor.”


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