Filipino Food: Magnolia Ice Cream!!!

This morning I received a box of pure deliciousness: three large tubs of Magnolia brand ice cream. As you can see from the picture to the left, these flavors are mango, Thai tea, and [insert trumpets blaring] ube!

During the 1970's and 1980's, when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Magnolia ice cream was not something you could get locally. We would have to buy it at the Filipino bodega near the New York Eye & Ear Hospital in the East Village or the only known Filipino grocery store/bakery in Jersey City, NJ. When we did make the pilgrimage to either sources of all things Filipino, we would get one gallon of the ube and one gallon of the mango flavors. My two sisters and I would greedily eat and eat (and eat and eat) despite the inevitable brain freeze and scolding from our parents.
My love of ube ice cream--more specifically, the Magnolia ube ice cream--propelled me to make my own version recently. But I couldn't get the taste right. My earlier attempts lacked a certain nuttiness that the Magnolia version has. So I went in a completely different direction and mixed my store bought ube spread with coconut cream. While my ube ice cream is pretty tasty, it still leaves me yearning for a true ube ice cream which, of course, is the Magnolia one.

When I opened my new tub of Magnolia ube ice cream, I did something that I haven't done since I was a kid: I licked the lid! Yes, I rinsed it before placing it back on the tub. But for a few seconds I was transported to my Mom's kitchen and I was the lucky kid who got to lick the lid. As soon as the ice cream reached my taste buds, I was in heaven.

I should mention that the mango and Thai tea flavors are also delicious. Mango ice cream itself is not as common as mango sorbet, which is sometimes a little too sweet for my palate. Magnolia's mango ice cream is the right amount of sweet. As for the Thai tea flavor, it's also well-balanced. I've had Thai iced tea in restaurants and have been overwhelmed by either the sweetened milk or the tea, resulting in the request for more ice (and a strange look from the waiter). As an ice cream flavor, I was initially skeptical. But someone at Magnolia knows the sorrow of a Thai tea gone wrong. The ice cream version is quite good.

The consistency of the ice cream itself is creamy and not too thick or heavy. It's not icy like a lot of store bought ice creams, nor does it have too much air in it from over-churning. It's just about as close to perfect as any ice cream can get. And this is coming from a gal who has eaten a LOT of ice cream.

I'm hoping that Magnolia ice creams will become available in more stores. There is a locator on their website, so go check and see if you can get it near you.

xoRichela