The man behind Clemmy’s Ice Cream insists that his frozen dessert is NOT a diet ice cream. He touts it as a full-flavored, super-premium ice cream that is totally sugar-free with “no dangerous artificial sweeteners.” The Food Channel taste panel put it to the test.
Jon Gordon, the inventor of Clemmy’s Ice Cream is a man who REALLY loves his ice cream. He claims he was up to a pint a day, at one point. When a routine physical check-up showed his glucose level was “through the roof,” Gordon’s doctor told him that if he didn’t cut back, he was likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
After that visit to the doctor’s office, Gordon stopped eating ice cream cold turkey, but never lost his craving for it. He went on a quest to create a sugar-free ice cream that tasted like real ice cream. He bought a commercial ice cream maker and started to experiment at home. He toiled in his Rancho Mirage, Calif., kitchen for 14-16 hours a day — often until 2:00-3:00 o’clock in the morning.
He insisted that his ice cream have the rich and creamy texture he’d loved since childhood, but it also had to be completely sugar-free and completely natural. After much trial and error, often throwing away 12-15 gallons of heavy cream and dozens of eggs each week, Gordon felt he had perfected the secret recipe to his indulgent, all natural, sugar-free premium ice cream. He had created Clemmy’s, named after his beloved pet cat that had been his constant companion throughout his months of ice cream development and tasting.
p(right caption). Jon Gordon, creator of Clemmy’s Ice Cream
His first “official” taste testing took place at the offices of his businesses’ law firm in Los Angeles. He didn’t tell anyone that it was sugar-free. Everyone thought it was a rich and creamy premium ice cream, he says. Then Gordon began conducting taste tests disclosing the fact his ice cream was sugar free. Skeptical tasters assumed the worst, but exclaimed, ‘Tasting is believing,’ according to Gordon. The doctor who had warned Gordon about his ice cream consumption now sells it out of a freezer in his office.
Not a “Weight Loss” Product
While the package clearly states that it is “not for weight control” (each flavor contains 200 calories per serving), Gordon sees Clemmy’s as a great dessert that can be enjoyed by diabetics, or by parents who want to limit their children’s sugar intake, or for anyone who’s trying to lower the amount of sugar in his/her diet.
“I started out just wanting to make this product for myself, because I really, really love ice cream,” Gordon says. “But as I started learning more about how many diabetics there are—22 million in the U.S.—I began to think about the bigger picture.”
Clemmy’s Ice Cream comes in five flavors: Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Coffee, Toasted Almond, and Chocolate Mint Swirl. It has grown from a start-up to a brand with major chain store distribution in more than 800 stores in less than a year. Gordon hopes to have Clemmy’s available nationwide by Fall 2008, and plans to add frozen novelties and non-dairy versions to the original five flavors.
We brought those five Clemmy’s flavors into The Food Channel kitchens for a taste test among our chefs, culinary artists and assorted sweet tooths.
The Taste Test
Our panel was intrigued that Clemmy’s has no Aspartame, no Splenda, no Saccharine, and of course, no sugar. Where does it get its sweetness? “It gets its sweetness from Xylitol,” Gordon says. “That’s the key sweetening ingredient in our proprietary formula. Xylitol comes from wood sugar and birch sugar,” Gordon explains. “It comes from trees. It’s been used as a sweetener in chewing gum for nearly 40 years—and Xylitol is actually a tooth decay preventative…that has been recommended by many dentists.”
During our taste test, we did notice on the ingredient panel that two ingredients listed, Maltitol and Xylitol, had this disclaimer: Sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect from excess consumption of this ingredient. Hmm. Well, I checked with everyone the next morning and none of us experienced that particular effect. According to Gordon, most people will have to eat an awful lot of it before they’ll feel any of those effects. Everything in moderation, I guess.
We tasted all five flavors and there were some panelists who liked the Toasted Almond best, some who preferred the Chocolate Mint Swirl over the others, but, flavor preferences aside, most of us agreed that, Clemmy’s would definitely satisfy one’s craving for ice cream.
The Chocolate was quite chocolatey—one person commented that it reminded her of a fudgecicle. Everyone said that the Coffee flavor was surprisingly robust, and the Vanilla Bean had a genuine vanilla flavor.
Although some felt the Clemmy’s was slightly less sweet than regular ice cream, the panel concurred that it does deliver a true ice cream experience in terms of richness and creaminess.
One of our panelists noted that the only kind of ice cream she eats is the sugar-free kind, and that Clemmy’s was better than any she had ever tasted before.
Conclusion: if you love ice cream but you’re trying to cut down on your sugar intake, Clemmy’s may be just what the doctor ordered.