The following was posted here on the Ice Cream Journal last year, but it’s a thought-provoking question, so we’re posting it again. Enjoy!
KELLY P. FROM ALTOONA, PA ASKS: Hi Ernie! I was hoping you could answer a question that my friend and I were debating. Which ice cream flavor melts faster – chocolate or vanilla?
Some people debate politics. Others debate sports. You and your friend debate ice cream, and that’s my kind of debate!
The answer to your question is a little tricky. Technically, the chocolate ice cream should melt faster because it’s darker in color, and darker-colored objects absorb more light (or heat) than lighter-colored objects. If you’ve ever worn a dark-colored shirt in the summer, you’ll know what I mean. If the chocolate ice cream absorbs more light (heat), that means it’ll melt faster. This is especially true outdoors in direct sunlight, but the same principle applies indoors.
The only problem with that theory is that other factors also determine how quickly certain ice cream flavors will melt. Fat destabilization, ice crystal size, and the consistency coefficient of the mix can also affect the melting rate of ice cream. Maybe I’m getting a little too technical and paying too much attention to the details, but as anyone who knows me will tell you, when it comes to ice cream, I always pay close attention to the details!
Instead of talking about it, let’s put it to the test, shall we? I took a container of Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and a container of Turkey Hill Dutch Chocolate ice cream and stored them side-by-side in the same freezer. I then scooped a single scoop of each flavor onto a plate and placed the plates next to each other on a countertop. Then I stood back and let room temperature (about 72 degrees Fahrenheit) take over.
The results? Both flavors turned into sad little puddles within an hour and I forgot to check in to see which one melted first. Either way, my advice is this: If you eat your ice cream fast enough, you never have to worry about it melting!