Food & Drink

Ice lollies: A definitive ranking from worst to best

Posted by
Gary Ogden
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Hello everyone, enjoying the sun? Yes, you are, because you are from the UK, and this is something that everyone from the UK enjoys. Another thing that you are enjoying, is the fact that you can eat ice lollies now – eating them when it’s not sunny is a bit of an alarm bell, isn’t it – it’s not really looked upon too fondly. But it is sunny now, so you can eat them. 

But newsflash: some are rubbish. Don’t eat those ones – eat the nice ones. But which exact ones are nice? Well, I’m about to tell you – I’m going to shout at you the correct answers, so listen up. Here is a giant ranking of all the ice lollies, starting with the worst, and sliding smoothly down your greased gullet, to the best:

30. Funny Foot

INT: OFFICE. DAY.

A group of suits are having an ice cream brainstorm.

BOSS: What is the tastiest thing. The thing that you want to put in your mouth the most. I want an ice cream shaped like it.

SUIT 2: Erm, strawberry?

SUIT 3: I don’t know, a cake?

INTERN: A swollen pink foot.

BOSS: You’re hired. The rest of you suckers can hop it. Come here, small intern, remove your socks, I want to feast on your heels.

Such a fucking stupid ice cream. I hate it. I’ve never met anyone that has liked it. It’s a foot. Who do you think I am, Quentin Tarantino?

29. Nobbly Bobbly

I have never had one of these “things” but they look like they should come with a trigger warning. Can you imagine putting that piece of coral in your mouth? It would be like running your tongue over someone’s leg after they’ve fallen into a nettle bush. It’d be like wrapping your lips around a sea cucumber. Like kissing a scabby elbow. Lapping away at the stucco walls on that abandoned house down the road. Grabbing a step ladder, going round your nan’s house and using it to orally assault her Artex ceiling. I will never buy one of these.

28. Choc Ice

I mean, objectively, this tastes OK, it’ll do. I just can’t fathom why anyone would buy one. The chocolate is thinner than the film that develops on my eyes after I accidentally sleep with them open again, and it probably tastes about as good, too. The ice cream is budget, man – like, bare-minimum stuff, we’re talking. Also, the damn things melt quicker than an ant’s back under a magnifying glass on a sunny day. There’s nothing to hold – you’re gripping the actual thing (through paper, yes) and it heats it up like nobody’s business. Waste of time.

27. Mini Milk

If I had never seen a cow poo before, this is what I’d guess they looked like. They’re corndog-shaped tubes of mystery, and they make me feel uneasy. I used to like them, but I used to like baby food, too – and I don’t eat that anymore. Not most of the time, anyway.

As such, a Mini Milk is not something that I’d ever choose to have. The way it breaks down in your mouth is disconcerting and it melts too quickly in your hand. Also, I just looked at the ingredients and they contain something called locust bean gum. And seeing as, unlike a cow’s, I’ve never seen a locust poo before, that must be what that is.

26. Bounty Ice Cream

Not really much point dwelling on this one: the Bounty chocolate bar is the pits, so the Bounty ice cream is also the pits.

25. Fab

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Why has this monstrosity been around for so long, and why does it continue to eke out such a miserable existence? I know the answer: it’s because for some unknown, ungodly, inexplicable reason, people like it. But I’m writing this, and I think it’s rank – people that enjoy them have the mouths of a Madame Tussauds waxwork. If you like Fabs, you have no tastebuds.

What is vanilla ice? The middle bit is that, and I fully disagree with it. The only good bit is the strawberry bit, and there are lollies out there that are ALL strawberry, so obviously just have one of them instead. Makes me sick.

24. Fruit Split

This is the budget Solero, isn’t it. Ice cream covered in flavoured ice. Budget flavoured ice. Budget flavoured ice cream.

The fruit coating is soggy and falls apart too easily, and the thin slither of yellow gunk in the middle is almost flavourless, and nearly always over-frozen. You know ice cream isn’t supposed to have visible ice in it? These always do - these ice creams have icicles in them. It’s meant to be a fun, refreshing snack, not a fucking window ledge.

23. Twix Ice Cream

Twixes: The Chocolate Bar, are pretty boring, but at least you get two of them in one packet. Twixes: The Easily Crushed Cream Bar, you only get one. How is that even a Twix? The name “Twix” suggests two, somehow, doesn’t it? This is one. One hugely average ice cream bar.

Get a Mars or a Snickers, if you absolutely must have your chocolate bars in ice cream form (which is fair enough, it’s a great idea). 

22. Feast

Naaah to Feasts. I’ve never been a fan of bog standard chocolate ice cream – like, it’s the worst part of a Neapolitan, but at least with that you’ve got two other flavours to make up for it. With a Feast, that’s all you’ve got. And you’ve not got much of it, to boot.

Thankfully, there is one saving grace: the lovely, thick slice of solid chocolate at its heart. It’s the two-round pass-the-parcel of ice creams. But FYI, you’re a steaming berk if you don’t eat all of the surrounding ice cream first, leaving only the thick chocolate centre to eat afterwards. Why wouldn’t you want two lollies in one? YOU BERK.

21. Cornetto

Maybe a bit controversial, this one, but I reckon that Cornettos are a bit shit, you know. All of the flavours, actually. I think my main issue with them is that the chocolate bit on the top is a weird shape and I don’t like how it looks, or the way it feels in my mouth. It snaps too easily and it’s difficult to know what to do with your lips and/or tongue when you’re eating it.

The only good bit, really, is that little chocolate buttplug at the bottom. I like that part, but you’ve gotta get through all the annoying hazelnuts and the spiky, weird-shaped chocolate spider on top, before you can get to the plug.

If ever I’m offered one, I normally just bite the arse off it and hurl the rest into a window or something. It’s ungrateful, yes, but necessary.

20. Cider Lolly

These were only exciting when I was a kid. They didn’t taste that great, but they were cider, and that meant you could get pissed off them. Pretend to get pissed off them, anyway. But nowadays, I dunno, you could just get an actual cider? Get an actual cider and a Calippo, much better. You could even dip your Calippo in your cider.

Oh, and really, let’s be honest with ourselves here, look at them, they look like what leaked out of your sewage pipes when they burst last winter.

19. Ribena Lolly

We’re fully entering the middling mediocre range, now. Prepare to be neither over nor underwhelmed. This is ITV at about 7pm on a Saturday.

No matter what you say, Ribena is bland. It’s a boring drink that I never get. Freezing it makes it marginally more interesting, but it’s not enough to contend with the big boys. Gimme a free one and I’ll happily eat it – it may even make my day a tad better, on the whole. But pay for one? Never have done, never will.

18. Maltesers Ice Cream

These ice creams are very OK. Again, you’d be happy if someone gave you one for free, but you’d never really actively buy one, would you. It’s pretty bog standard ice cream full of mini Malteasers. It is an annoying shape, too. Yeah I’ll eat it, and yeah I’ll enjoy it, but it’s not really going to end up a memorable experience, and I’m certainly not ever pining over one.

It’s almost on par with the Ribena lolly, but it just beats it out because at least there’s a bit of variety on show here. That purple stick of indifference is one note, through and through.

17. Screwball

The great thing about many ice lollies is that the fun isn’t necessarily over once you’ve finished it. If you’re lucky, you’ve got another activity to get involved with after you’re done: reading the joke on the stick. It’s a great little added extra that enriches the whole experience.

The same goes for a 99 – it comes with a plus point because you can eat the wafer cone straight afterwards.

Ice creams and lollies should always have bonus features, in my opinion, which is why the screwball is such a delight. Once you’ve finished the lovely, smooth ice cream, what’s that? Oooh, what’s that at the bottom, there? It’s a round nugget of fun-continuing bubblegum, that’s what it is. Hoy it in your gob man. Keep it there for the rest of the day if you like. The festivities are just beginning.

16. Orange Lolly

Here’s a classic that’s been appropriated by brand after brand, supermarket after supermarket, with the taste not really getting affected across the board. It’s frozen orange juice – you can’t really go wrong with that, can you? How do you make orange juice – already one of the most thirst-quenching substances on the planet – even more suited to a hot day? You freeze it – it’s simple maths, or something. 

15. Lemonade Lolly

This is the same as the orange lolly but better because a lemon is more tart. And the tartier something is, the more I like it.

14. Ice Pop

The cheapest of the cheap! 10p for a stick of frozen water, with a dab of flavour leaked in. The juice gives up almost immediately and you’re down to pure white ice in no time, but these have a strong retro value.

I used to love these as a kid, and I am never wrong about anything, so I still love them now, even though I haven’t had one for about ten years. Still guarantee that they’re ice-cold poles of pure, unadulterated banter, though.

13. Calippo Shots

You remember these from your childhood, but did you know they still exist? They used to be called Solero Shots, but now they’re Calippo Shots, presumably because they don’t have ice cream inside them, like Soleros. 

Also, for the uninitiated, this isn’t really an ice lolly or ice cream, per se. It’s a small container of little ice balls, about the size of a ball bearing, most often featuring two different flavours. They are the Tic-Tacs of the ice world.

They are fun to eat, extremely refreshing and they only become soul-crushingly irritating when you get down to the last two, which 100% have melted into the crease between the base and the walls. You will not get them out, and trying to – by shaking the packet over your open mouth, head back – looks really rude, doesn’t it.

12. Jubbly

These little retro suckers come in big packs for not much money. They are also housed in the most ingenious packaging of all on this list. It’s a simple tetrahedon, a wonderful shape that enables you to push the ice out the top of the pack with great ease. Also, their diminutive stature and relatively non-existent content mean that you can chin about three of the shitters in one bang.

11. Mars Ice Cream

Mars is a Snickers ice cream without peanuts, essentially. It is therefore not as good. No arguments.

10. Snickers Ice Cream

Snickers are not the best chocolate bar on the market – that’s a Star Bar, obviously – but of all the chocolate bars that have made the frozen leap to freezer-ville, and been transformed into ice creams, Snickers comes out on top.

The reason for this is that they have greatly increased the amount of caramel contained within the chocolate walls (which are also thicker), and then, peanuts. It’s got peanuts in it and none of the other ones do. Put peanuts in me and I’m anyone’s.

9. Fruit Pastille Lolly

This is very similar to the rocket lolly, but SPOILER ALERT: it just enters the chart a tiny bit below, because of the price. It’s Big Ice Cream’s fault clearly – a brand name comes with a heftier price tag. Of course, it’s still a multipack staple, so you’re not breaking the bank with it – it is just ice after all.

If there’s a downside to this one, it’s that they put the best flavour at the top and the worst one at the bottom, so you get way more lemon than blackcurrant, and that’s a travesty, mate, that is. A flavour travesty.

8. Rocket Lolly

“Big old pack of ten of these please, barkeep.”

“That’ll be 2p or something equally ridiculous.”

“Many thanks. P.S. I’m going to eat four in a row and then probably another two about five hours later.”

“Same.”

These unbelievable cheapo public domain ice lollies are not to scoffed at – behind the budget packaging and the suspiciously slimy thick residue that languishes inside the crinkly, transparent, difficult-to-slide-off individual cases, there’s an old faithful just dying to be sucked on.

Supremely sugary, moderately juicy and containing about one more flavour than most ice lollies on this list (apart from Fruit Pastilles ones, natch), this budget bastard is always there when you need it. I flaming love rocket lollies.

7. Solero

Is this an ice cream or an ice lolly? Defo ice cream in the middle, but defo ice lolly on the outside, isn’t it. God knows, and also doesn’t care, because nor do I – all I know is that I want one. I want one quite often.

However, it’s not necessarily one for the hottest of days – I find it’s more of a quite-sunny-but-not-sweltering-actually-I-could-very-easily-eat-this-inside type of stress-buster. It’s a comfort lolly, rather than a life-saver, but that doesn’t make it any less delectable.

6. Twister

More questions. So many questions. Nobody knows what a Twister is made out of. Again, is it an ice cream or an ice lolly? What flavour is it? What ungodly ingredient makes the white swirl on the outside? Is the red bit strawberry? How is it so gosh flipping dog-darn refreshing? All these questions and more combine to make the ultimate ice enigma. And only one of them has an answer:

Is it nice?

Yes, it fucking is.

5. Maxibon

I really really like sandwiches, but most of the ones I have have cheese and meat in. I like a peanut butter and jam one, too. Also, crisp and/or chip ones are great. The same applies to ice cream sandwiches, even though they sound a bit rough. They’re mega not, though.

In case you’re unaware (a disgusting amount of people have never even heard of Maxibon, let alone had one), one half is a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich (the “bread” is soft biscuit) and the other half is more along your standard choc-ice hype. It’s amazing, if not only for being one of the only ice creams you can actually bite into properly, without your teeth making your brain vibrate off through the top of your skull and out through the ceiling, all the way to Mars.

4. Galaxy Ice Cream

Galaxy ice creams often get overlooked, destined to live in the chocolately shadow of a certain other ice cream. This is not a good thing – more needs to be done to remind people of the heavenly range on offer from Galaxy. This is Galaxy we’re talking about – chocolate legends – you’ve tasted its non-frozen range, haven’t you? It’s pretty sodding spot-on.

The same therefore goes for its ice creams. In fact, although they’re not the best ice creams out there, I’d risk saying that they’ve got the best chocolate coating? It’s a lip-serenading smooth skin of utter, utter bud-massaging pleasure. I wouldn’t be surprised if I one day found myself on a wholly exploitative Channel 5 documentary called something like I Married a Sheet of Galaxy Chocolate and I Intend to Mate With it. Watch this space, I say.

3. Calippo

Behold, the clear market leader in non-cream ice lollies here, and also the king of non-stick-based frozen treats. If we’re looking for an accurate description, it’s a push-pop, in that you squeeze it from the bottom out of a cardboard tube – it’s the toothpaste of ice lollies, basically. Only it tastes, much, much better.

However, side-note: they are not as good as they used to be. They are quite possibly the juiciest lolly on the list, but they used to be even juicier. I have no idea why this was changed, and my life hasn’t really been the same since it happened. If I had a time machine, the first thing I would do would be to travel back to the Jurassic period and stomp on a butterfly, in the hope that it may somehow stop that most heinous of popsicle alterations.

2. 99 Flake

You have to respect the OG. Big Grandaddy soft serve and his chocolate wand – simple, cheap, oh so effective. There’s not much out there like it, and there doesn’t need to be – it’s cornered the market and there’s no knocking it off its creamy pedestal.

You loved it as a kid, you loved it as a teen, you love it as an adult, you’ll love it as a pensioner and finally, you’ll love it when you are buried in a coffin filled with dreamy, luscious swirls of velvety soft ice cream, and lowered into an eternity of indulgently luscious ecstasy. With a big flake up your bum, too.

1. Magnum

Really, it’s the undisputed king of frozen, stick-based foodstuffs, isn’t it? Nobody’s going to argue with you if you say this. So keep saying it – there will be no repercussions. You will be fine. Enjoy your Magnum. Any flavour too – they’re all absolutely banging.

Mint is my favourite, but I’ll let you off with a suggestion of any of the others – they’re all flawless. Even when they do a stupid, gimmicky flavour like that weird, grey champagne one they did last year, it’s topper than top-notch. You can’t beat a Magnum, and if you try, you’ll fail, no bones about it.

BASK IN THE GLORY OF THIS CHOCOLATE BEHEMOTH. BOW BENEATH THE SHADOW OF THE UNIVERSE’S CREAMIEST AND MOST POWERFUL JUGGERNAUT. PRAY TO ITS TOOTHSOME, DIVINE MAJESTY. ACCEPT IT AS YOUR GOD AND WELCOME THE RAPTURE.

Might go and get one now actually.

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", PDAs, not having eczema anymore, hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the eczema thing though. @garyblogden

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