We tried four flavors: Turkish Coffee (of course), Salted Caramel Chip, Double Peanut Butter Chip and Eureka Lemon & Marionberries. Each one was extremely creamy and rich with deep flavor. For the Turkish Coffee they use
a three-bean selection of espresso and cold-processed coffees (again, made in house). The coffee flavor is much more pronounced than your standard coffee ice cream. As the name implies, there is a dense coffee taste, but with no acidity or bitterness. The Salted Caramel Chip is just as described: lightly salted caramel ice cream, almost toffee-like, with Guittard bittersweet, melted chocolate. This was probably my husband's favorite. The Double Peanut Butter Chip was my favorite, which I wasn't expecting. Peanut butter and chocolate was a favorite flavor combination for me in my early days of ice cream eating, but then my taste moved on to other things. McConnell's version brought me full circle. Imagine peanut butter folded into peanut butter ice cream with a perfect balance of Guittard bittersweet chocolate chips. It sounds over the top, but it is right on point and incredibly addictive. Finally, the Eureka Lemon & Marionberries, which went beyond my expectations (this was my youngest son's favorite). The sweetness of the Oregon marionberries balances out the tartness of the lemon and it must be experienced to truly appreciate how wonderfully married the ingredients are in this flavor. Turns out the milk fat percentage of McConnell's Ice Creams is 18.5%; higher than the average for most artisan ice cream makers, which is 14-15%. This explains why McConnell's tastes so creamy. Another reason McConnell's has such great texture and consistency is the fact that they do not use batch freezers. Batch freezers use air in the process (which can ruin truly great ice cream) and over beats ice cream, which can affect the texture.
When the company first came on my radar, I Googled them and learned that their Eureka Lemon & Marionberries was included in Bon Appétit's list of 11 Favorite Artisanal Ice Cream Brands and Flavors. McConnell's Fine Ice Creams is new to the Austin area and I found it at Central Market for $7.49 a pint. I realize that price point might be considered steep in Texas, but for all the reasons listed above, I think it is fair.
Disclosure: McConnell's Fine Ice Creams supplied me with four complimentary pints of their ice cream to sample, but the opinions expressed above are my own.