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Sequestered in a room with fifteen ice creams in two flavors, our dedicated tasters took a licking. Thirty pints later, they emerged with the scoop on the city's best ice creams.

Vanilla

1. Haagen-Dazs
1221 Third Avenue (212-288-7088)
18% BUTTERFAT
Five judges ranked it first.
"Wow. This is vanilla."
"Authentic color and great flavor."
"Classic."

2. Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn (718-246-3963)
16% butterfat
All six judges ranked this in their top three. "Sits smugly on the spoon in all its superiority."
"Custardy texture, good vanilla flavor."

3. Ciao Bella Gelato Café
27 East 92nd Street (212-831-5555)
12% butterfat
"Lush and clean." "Very sweet."
"Big, blowsy vanilla."
"Beany."

Strawberry

1. Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn (718-246-3963)
16% butterfat
Again, five out of six judges ranked it tops. "Just the right amount of acidity."
"Not too sweet, natural."
"Nice, delicate flavor."

2. Ben & Jerry's Homemade
41 Third Avenue (212-995-0109)
15% butterfat
"Tart, big berry chunks."
"Despised the aftertaste."
"Good flavor."

3. Emack & Bolio's
389 Amsterdam Avenue (212-362-2747)
14 to 15% butterfat
"Great old-fashioned flavor."
"Reminds me of scones and clotted cream."
"Bubble gum."
"Most assertive."


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