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How Tillamook® Ice Cream Scientist Anna Ingoglia Makes the Perfect Extra-Creamy Ice Cream

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A job that revolves around making and tasting ice cream sounds almost too good to be true. But it is, in fact, a real job, and it’s every bit as interesting as you might expect. 

We caught up with Tillamook County Creamery Association’s (TCCA) Anna Ingoglia to find out what an ice cream scientist really does, and how she puts her unique skills to use making expertly crafted and extra-creamy Tillamook ice cream

Ice cream

Anna Ingoglia, one of TCCA’s in-house ice cream scientists, describes her job as 60 percent science and 40 percent art. There are the creative aspects of conception and development of flavors as well as attention to scientific details like balancing cream, sugar, fat, and even air for the best possible flavor and texture. “A lot of my work is tasting and perfecting flavors,” Ingoglia says, “but also converting that subjective information into measurable data.”
 
Dreaming up a new ice cream flavor is how it all begins. Ingoglia explains that inspiration can come from anywhere but often is influenced by nostalgic and comforting flavors, current market trends, and even consumer input. “I spend a lot of time in the lab making different versions of ice cream flavors. I usually curate different music playlists to fit the theme or vibe of the ice cream flavor I’m making. It was a lot of electronica and dance for Caramel Swirl,” she says. “Birthday Cake was ’80s pop, and Peaches and Cream was 2000s hip hop.” 

Once she’s made a few different prototypes of a flavor, Ingoglia gets opinions from the rest of her team. “I create ballots and spreadsheets to track everyone’s liking scores and ‘science’ the different options, so I can pick the best one.” In case you were wondering what happens to all of that tested ice cream, Ingoglia tells us it goes into “The Vault.” 

Scientist

Developing flavors is only half the story. The high quality of the milk brings each flavor to life, and Ingoglia’s goal is to create the most luscious flavor-packed ice creams possible. “It’s all about the butterfat content,” explains Ingoglia. As a farmer-owned co-op, not only does TCCA receive the milk for their ice cream directly from the source (as opposed to a prepared mix), but the ice cream is made with more cream and less air than FDA standards require, making it extra luxurious and super creamy. 

After an ice cream has been tested, perfected, and sent out for the world to enjoy, the next and most complex phase of Ingoglia’s job begins: quality control. She works with teams of tasters and quality engineers to ensure that every batch of the flavor is balanced and consistently produced every time in every location. Tasting happens weekly, so nothing misses the close supervision of Tillamook’s team of experienced palates.

When asked about her personal favorites, Ingoglia admits that she adores the Malted Moo Shake as well as the entire line of fresh fruit ice creams. Tillamook Oregon Strawberry ice cream uses some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest strawberries, which Ingoglia believes are some of the best berries you’ll ever taste. 

Despite being surrounded by ice cream on a daily basis, Ingoglia’s enthusiasm for it never wanes. While the job of creating and maintaining high-quality ice cream is more complex than you might have imagined, the reward is gratifyingly sweet. 

To find Tillamook ice cream at a retailer or restaurant near you, check out Tillamaps for locations nationwide.