The Great Torontoist Challenge: Frozen Edition
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The Great Torontoist Challenge: Frozen Edition

Photo by Blaine Kendall from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.
Unless you’ve been living under an air-conditioned and rather spacious rock, you will have noted that Toronto has had some decidedly “hot” spells lately (barring this past weekend, of course). One of the best ways to beat the heat, which is certain to back in mere moments, is through the medium of ice cream. With this in mind, we here at Torontoist decided to pit three varieties of our favourite frozen treat against each other in the first ever (and to be honest, most likely the last) Ice Cream Sandwich Challenge!
(Admittedly, this is a bit of a stretch on the Toronto-centric side, but it was hot out and we were hungry.)


The Contestants

1) Chapman’s Lil’ Sammich. Founded in 1973, Chapman’s is based out of Markdale, Ontario and is Canada’s largest independent ice cream manufacturer. High five! The Lil’ Sammich is a cuter, smaller version of the classic.
2) Breyer’s 100 Calorie Ice Cream Sandwich. Begun informally in 1866, Breyer’s is now owned by Unilever, most famously known for its soap. The 100 Calorie Sandwich appears to be soap-free and, according to the Breyer’s site, is “guilt-free” too.
3) Nestlé Minis Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich. A multinational food company, Nestlé is headquartered in Switzerland. While Nestlé has made headlines for selling contaminated animal feed and using forced labour in chocolate production, its Mini Vanilla Sandwich is touted on their site as a “smart snacking” choice. Phew.

The Criteria

1) Appearance: Does it look delectable? /15
2) Ooze-factor: Ratio of cookie hardness to ice cream hardness. /15
3) Ice Cream Quality: Creaminess, meltage factor, flavour. /15
4) Cookie Quality: Hand smearage issues, flavour. /15
5) Overall refreshingness on a hot day. /15

Additional Criterion

Just a few things to keep in mind, if you aren’t convinced by our oh-so scientific exploration… Ranked in order of bestest to not so bestest.
1) Cost: Chapman’s ($3.99 for 12); Nestlé ($5.49 for 12); Breyer’s ($6.99 for 5)
2) Nutrition (fat [g] and calories): Breyer’s (1.5 g /100 cal); Chapman’s (2 g / 90 cal); Nestlé (3 g / 90 cal).

The Results

1) Appearance. Breyer’s—15/15. Nice looking cookie, good ratios, larger size, intriguingly frilled “roundness.”
2) Ooze-factor. TIE: Breyer’s & Chapman’s—9/15. What is ooze-factor, really? This is way too subjective.
3) Ice Cream Quality. Breyer’s—12/15. Double-churned? And how!
4) Cookie Quality. Chapman’s—12/15. Low hand smearage and that perfect squishiness.
5) Overall refreshingness on a hot day: Chapman’s—14/15. Self-explanatory. Just felt fresh.
The big loser, without question, was the Nestlé option, with an overall score of 44%. The judging panel found Nestlé’s offering to be anemic and sinister in appearance, with an overly oozy ice cream and a cookie flavour best described as “sand-like.”
The winning title is determinedly awarded to Chapman’s with a 77% (we’re discerning judges; we can’t just give away an “A”). Chapman’s has a good rectangular shape that is easy to eat, it scored well in ooziness and cookie quality, and as the classic of the ice cream sandwich world—the archetype, if you will—it was bound to be victorious. Doesn’t hurt that it’s an Ontario company and is by far the cheapest.
As for Breyer’s? Meh. How much does low-fat matter when it’s only by a gram or two?