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The Mint Chip Divide

August 18, 2014

Homemade hard ice cream can be spotty, as we learned on tour a couple summers ago. Still, I’m a sucker for any ice cream parlor that puts in the work to make their product in house. The only problem is, that I know all too well, one has to try a wide cross section of flavors in order to suss out the winners from the losers.

You can check out the results from the Tour de Homemade Hard Ice Cream for more on that.

This past weekend, while in New Hampshire for a wedding, the hotel had a homemade hard ice cream stand on the property. In an effort to try a cross section of flavors, we ate there four times in three days. In fact, we were their last customers on Saturday night (begging them to sell us ice cream after closing). Then, on Sunday we were the first customers of the day, counting down the minutes to their one o’clock opening.

One part of our hunt for their best ice cream flavor was talking to other wedding guests about their experience with the local ice cream stand. Everyone had their favorite: Maple walnut, black raspberry, unbaked (cake batter ice cream with cookie dough chunks), chocolate, and mint chip were mentioned several times.

Of all those options, I was probably the most upset by the mint chip. And I was surprised to find such a strong backlash to my stance on this beloved flavor.

I’ll just lay it out. It’s really simple, actually. Mint chip should be white.

Mint leaves don’t generally transfer their color into the pot of simmering milk and cream that will form the base of this ice cream. So, if this is a truly homemade product, one actively has to add food coloring to make it green.

And that goes completely against the point of making it on site. You go through the hard work of crafting a product so that you can make it better than the industrial equivalent.

Which isn’t to say plenty of places that make homemade ice cream get it.

The Snowman which makes a great version of Butter Pecan, but the strawberry at this Lansingburgh shop was just a frozen cocktail of artificial colors and flavors. Frosty Scoops, which was our source of ice cream in New Hampshire, made a green mint chocolate chip.

What a disappointment.

However, I was completely shocked to learn that my disappointment wasn’t shared by others. In fact, most people I asked actually preferred mint chip to be green. Green! To them, the thought of a white mint chocolate chip ice cream was deeply disconcerting. Maybe it’s a regional thing.

What say you? Should mint chocolate chip be green or white? I’m really curious to see how people shake out on this one. I think it could be eye-opening.


17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2014 10:04 am

    I think you’re nit picking. What did it taste like???

  2. llcwine permalink
    August 18, 2014 10:09 am

    agree with Zena…but I do say I don’t mind it being green…and would probably think that non-green would be the abnorm….

  3. -R. permalink
    August 18, 2014 10:35 am

    Despite the fact that I rather dislike mint-chip anything (especially mint/chocolate combinations), they should be green if only for ease of identification. I want a full visual warning before I dig in.

  4. ericscheirerstott permalink
    August 18, 2014 10:36 am

    The green is also a convenience to tell it from regular choc chip

    • DEN permalink
      August 18, 2014 12:27 pm

      That’s what I was thinking. They use the color to avoid screw-ups in putting the wrong labels on, etc. I am indifferent to the color for aesthetic purposes, but would be fine if they ditched as many artificial ingredients as possible.

  5. August 18, 2014 10:50 am

    I’m with Daniel. I don’t like fake food. Green mint chip is fake. And in this day and age when most everyone knows enough about food, that food doesn’t have be fake to be good, there’s little excuse for fake.

  6. August 18, 2014 10:54 am

    I don’t take issue with it being green, but I’ve noticed that when mint chip ice cream is white I like the taste better. The correlation then stands that if it’s a white mint chip I’ll like it more: they tend to be more of that clean, light mint goodness

  7. August 18, 2014 11:06 am

    On the way to Grandma’s, we used to stop at Shadowbrook Dairy Bar in Tunkhannock, PA. As far as I know, they made their own ice cream and mint chip was my favorite. Their mint chip was my first encounter with white instead of green and since then, I have always considered white more authentic, but that probably has to do with the overall experience – that ice cream was the best I ever had. I haven’t been in that area in years and have no idea if those ice cream recipes are still being used. Anyone know?

  8. Chantelle permalink
    August 18, 2014 11:36 am

    I think mint chip should be white but in all fairness it’s one of my least favorite flavors. I also love a nice white pistachio.

  9. Kerosena permalink
    August 18, 2014 12:21 pm

    I prefer white now, but I liked green when I was a kid because it was pretty.

  10. omaxwell permalink
    August 18, 2014 12:50 pm

    Green. And what’s wrong with food coloring? You think the peppermint oil in those chips was distilled in house?

  11. August 18, 2014 12:58 pm


    I cannot recall at this time what the term is but there is one that is used to describe where humans associate the visual sense of colors with another sense such as taste as in the case with green mint flavored ice cream. The reason humans in general expect mint ice cream as well as mint anything to be green is because we have been taught (although conditioned would be a more accurate term) to expect Mint anything to be some variation on the color green. For some this conditioning is strong enough that their taste is actually affected by color or in this case the lack of color. I’m not justifying the use of artificial coloring or even natural coloring, this is just a psychological explanation for why we humans in certain scenarios expect some food item to be of a specific color or shade thereof.

    That said I believe we are all far better off avoiding everything that has any kind of artificial coloring and while it may be hard in some cases to find natural coloring or color free alternatives the best way to make this change happen is by voting with your dollars. Stop buying something that has artificial coloring and start buying natural alternatives or dye-free versions. I realize that for small business like independent ice cream shops this may seem harsh but you can always speak to the owner(s) and pledge to support them via patronage if they will provide alternatives to artificial coloring.

  12. August 18, 2014 1:10 pm

    While I love Stewart’s mint chip, flavor-wise, I would prefer it to be without the added color. I had a “white” peppermint fudge swirl this weekend, made in-house. So delicious.

  13. Grrrr permalink
    August 18, 2014 3:39 pm

    This is a bit off-topic but Stewarts makes a seasonal minty ice cream I think they call peppermint stick/candy cane or something to that effect. It is white. It is minty. And it has crushed minty candies in it. No chocolate chips though but it’s delicious. However- I do love their mint cookie crumble. It’s minty and chocolaty without the crunch of the hard chocolate chips which is why I dislike mint chocolate chip ice cream. But, alas, it does have some green in it though it’s not fully green. I would prefer it to not have added food coloring but that doesn’t stop me from eating it. I don’t believe their ice cream is all natural but it tastes so good!

  14. August 19, 2014 2:19 am

    White, without a doubt! I say that ignoring the fact that I have had very good green ice cream in the past…

  15. August 19, 2014 12:36 pm

    I grew up knowing it as green. I was raised in Eugene, OR. Mint chocolate chip was my go-to flavor and not until ordering it at a Ben and Jerry’s in Bolton Landing last summer did I even know that white was an option.

  16. Deedee permalink
    August 24, 2014 6:31 pm

    I prefer white. The green says “fake” to me.

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