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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Phin & Phebes are small batch ice cream makers straight out of Brooklyn. I mean really small batch: the ice cream was originally made in their home kitchen, though now it's produced and hand-packed slightly upstate in Lewis and Jefferson Counties, not far from where they source their dairy.

Now that they're distributing in stores (you can find a list of distributors here) we eagerly picked up a spoon. The result? Their flavors are clean and spot on, and you can really taste the "handmade-ness." That's a good thing, though it can also lead to some textural inconsistencies, since they don't have any stabilizers except egg yolks. We also found they age like homemade ice cream—home freezers have a nasty habit of messing with their texture, making them a little grainy after a few days—so it's best to down these fast and often.

We tried a handful of flavors, including Coconut Key Lime Pie, Vanilla Cinnamon, Banana Whama, and Vietnamese Coffee.

Coconut Key Lime Pie

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This flavor was fantastic. It has just the right amount of tartness, and the coconut flavor shows through without being overwhelming. The ice cream also has a nice cream cheese-like flavor to it, making it even more reminiscent of a cream pie. While I really appreciated being able to detect and enjoy these clean and distinct flavors, the texture did lean towards the icy side, as sometimes happens with coconut ice creams.

Vietnamese Coffee

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This flavor was my personal favorite. The texture of the ice cream is spot on: smooth and creamy and even a little bit light. The flavor was slightly bitter with a hint of spice and, most importantly, it totally tasted like Vietnamese coffee. If you like coffee ice cream, you better try this. It's a rich, simple flavor that I would gladly keep in my home freezer.

Banana Whama

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This flavor, meant to resemble banana pudding, is pretty delicious. Though slightly grainy, it didn't fall into the trap of being too sweet like so many banana flavors do. The banana tastes fresh and well, banana-y. My one qualm? The chunks of vanilla wafer throughout are mushy, and I definitely would have preferred them to maintain some of their crunchy integrity.

Vanilla Cinnamon

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This is an awesome alternative to straight up vanilla. It's plush and heavy on the cinnamon, which gives it a warm and cozy taste. There are tiny bits of cinnamon strewn throughout, like little sparks of spice. Phin & Phebes' website says to try it with warm apple pie. That sounds about right.


Have you tried any of Phin & Phebes flavors? What did you think?

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