You Scream, I Scream . at the Price of Ice Cream

Here are the top best How much is a ice cream voted by users and compiled by us, invite you to learn together

Some makers don’t buy the argument, though, that prices need to be that high. “I just don’t think $5 is a fair price for a scoop of ice cream,” said Patricia Samson, an owner of Delicieuse, a scoop shop in Redondo Beach, Calif., where the flavors include oak sap, beer sorbet and lavender. Ms. Samson makes all of the ice cream served at Delicieuse, starting from raw milk: she pasteurizes, ripens and flavors the ice cream on site. She uses local fruit in season, opens only on weekends to keep wages to a minimum, and still manages to sell her ice cream for the relative bargain price of $2.95 a small. (Grom, it should be noted, will soon open its first United States store outside New York near her.) “Milk and sugar are cheap,” she said.

Those who think that the pint of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, an excellent line made in Columbus, Ohio, is a little too pricey at Dean & DeLuca in SoHo, for $11 a pint, probably would hyperventilate at the thought of paying $50 for three pints of MilkMade, which may be the country’s most expensive pint of ice cream. It is available only in Manhattan, via a new home delivery service that has about 150 subscribers, according to Diana Hardeman, one of the company’s owners. For $50, subscribers receive three pints of ice cream over three months, made from fruit and milk with impeccable agricultural credentials, in flavors like Coffee + Donuts (made from fair trade coffee and local doughnuts) and Blackcurrant With Gingersnaps.

According to Ms. Hardeman, who graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and has an M.B.A. from New York University, MilkMade will eventually run on the same community-based model that sustains farms through community-supported agriculture programs. For now, the idea is in a laboratory stage, including the ice creams themselves, which are not nearly as accomplished as those of Grom, or indeed of many people with a Cuisinart ice cream machine.

The world of high-end ice cream is small, and marbled with squabbles and secrets, making it difficult to pin down exactly what is in the stuff. Those who add milk powder scoff at those who use guar gum (a common stabilizer that is considered “natural” by the F.D.A.). Those who stick to a basic flavor palette dismiss the makers of Whiskey Brickle and Rosemary-Goat’s Milk. The ones who use only fresh ingredients sneer at the pre-mixed crowd.

Dairy technology has advanced to a point that consumers often can’t tell the difference. Expensive ice cream is often described as “artisanal” or “housemade,” but neither term has a meaningful definition as relates to ice cream. An “artisanal” gelato shop might only be adding water to a dry mix somewhere on the premises. (If you really want to know, it pays to ask.)

The sheer act of making ice cream is expensively complex and time-consuming, artisans say. “You are taking a liquid, raising it up to a high temperature, then whipping it with cold air and turning it into a solid, which you want to serve in a semi-solid state,” said Ms. Samson of Delicieuse. (In California, a license is required for those who handle raw milk, the primary ingredient in Ms. Samson’s super-flavorful ice creams.)

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