July 16th marks National Ice Cream Day. President Ronald Reagan declared National Ice Cream Day a holiday back in 1984 in an effort to promote the economic well-being of the U.S. dairy industry. On this day, he called upon citizens of the United States to pay tribute to ice-cream with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” I don't know about you, but I'm not one to disobey presidential orders, especially those involving ice cream.

So, how will we be celebrating? How should you be celebrating? Sure, you could hit up your neighborhood soft serve stand that you frequent every other weekend, but that wouldn’t be very exciting. Doesn’t this special day deserve something new and exciting? Fortunately, we know just the thing: Mochi ice cream.

What Is It?

Mochi ice cream is a recently popularized Japanese-American dessert made by covering bite-sized rounds of ice cream with a sweet Japanese rice dough.

Where to Find It:

Whole Foods Market recently introduced self-serve mochi ice cream bars to many of its U.S. stores. Their flavors range from classic to crazy, including Vanilla Bean, Double Chocolate, Matcha Green Tea, Red Bean, Black Sesame, and more. These bite-sized treats sell for around $2 a pop.

My Mochi Experience:

Erin Feeney

My brothers and went to the Whole Foods Fairmount location in Philadelphia and tried all six flavors they had to offer. I loved the self-serve setup at Whole Foods; it made selecting flavors just that much more fun. The freezer which holds the mochi keeps them cold, really cold. Warning: don’t bite into your first one too quickly unless you’re gunning for some serious brain freeze. On a 92 degree summer day, however, these ice cold treats were just what the doctor ordered. 

Here's What We Thought:

1. Green Tea

bread, flour
Erin Feeney

The green tea mochi tasted perfectly sweet, with a flavor similar to that of sweetened iced green tea from Starbucks.

2. Chocolate

chocolate, sweet, candy, cream, chocolate ice cream, milk, fudge, goody
Erin Feeney

The chocolate mochi tasted just like your typical chocolate ice cream: delicious. There were also a few chocolate chips added for texture.

3. Red Bean

ice cream, ice, cream, chocolate
Erin Feeney

None of us really knew what to expect from this one. However, we were pleasantly surprised at its flavor, which actually tasted somewhat like strawberry. 

4. Black Sesame

Erin Feeney

There were mixed reviews among the three of us regarding the black sesame. I, for one, really liked it. My younger brother, Robert, also liked it, and compared the flavor to vanilla bean. My older brother, Patrick, was not a fan.

5. Mango

Erin Feeney

While the mango was good, its sweetness was very underwhelming, a little too much so for our taste.

Clearly, the heat was getting to the previously ice-cold mochi. With one flavor to go, we wiped the sweat from our brows, loosened our belts, and hastened our efforts.

6. Strawberry

Erin Feeney

Strawberry was decidedly our favorite flavor. It was just perfectly sweet and familiar.

If you're looking for a new, exciting take on a classic summer treat to celebrate National Ice Cream Day, look no further than mochi ice cream. You won't regret it.