Oddity of the Week

I have a sobering announcement to make today.

Most Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors are artificial.

I noticed this last Thursday, my first trip to Baskin-Robbins in who knows how long (Fosselman’s, not to mention gelato and frozen yogurt, has completely displaced it).  Vanilla ice cream still proclaims “real vanilla,” but other vanilla-based flavors, such as chocolate chip, are only described as “vanilla-flavored.”  Sure enough, while vanilla contains vanilla extract, the others only list vanilla flavor in their ingredients.  And the deception goes on: There’s no mint extract, or mint anything, in mint chip.

To Baskin-Robbins’ credit, all their chocolate flavors seem to be real chocolate, including the fruit flavors, which isn’t always the case.  But, after entering a Baskin-Robbins for the first time in so long, I was struck by how commercial, oversold, and, well, chain-ish the whole thing feels.  Everything looks like it was designed by a marketing firm based on their focus group’s analysis.

In contrast, Fosselman’s and its Claremont equivalent, Bert and Rocky’s, are exactly what they appear: Neighborhood shops rub by people who just wanted to sell ice cream.  That’s something Baskin-Robbins will never hold a candle to.

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