The Swan Come Dine With Me Ice Cream & Gelato Maker (SF22010CDWM) is a great-value ice cream maker that just happens to come with a pack of CDWM goodies such as scoring cards. If you're not a fan of the show you can ignore these and still get a great bargain.
The design is very similar to the Cuisinart Ice Cream Deluxe. So you have to pre-freeze the bowl overnight. While the ice cream it produces isn't quite as good as the Cuisinart, it's superb considering the price.
The Swan has a square footprint and is fairly bulky but lightweight. There's neat storage underneath for the power cable and plug. The machine has a white finish but it doesn't look too cheap. And when switched on, the control knob lights up blue.
It has a removable bowl that you must pre-freeze the night before making ice cream. Unlike some rival ice cream makers, it's the bowl rather than the entire body of the machine that goes in the freezer. The bowl fitted upright in our cramped under-counter freezer fine, which is good because if you freeze the bowl on its side it cools the ice cream mix unevenly.
The capacity is large: its instructions recommend using 1 litre of mix to make 2 litres of ice cream. The instructions are fairly basic and contain just seven recipes. And controls are equally basic. Pre-freeze, switch on, switch off when you think it's ready.
The Swan's white plastic finish might not be as classy as stainless steel, but in a way it's more practical. Greasy fingerprints don't show up on it, although chocolate fingerprints still do.
We put 1 litre of chocolate ice cream mix, pre-chilled in the fridge, into the Swan, turned the blue-glowing knob and the bowl started to spin. Like the Cuisinart, it has an unusual design: the paddle stays fixed and the bowl rotates. This means that the lid is open, so you can easily see what's going on and add ingredients.
It even lets you dip a spoon in the top to sample your ice cream. All good chefs must test their food, after all.
The Swan wasn't too noisy, but after 33 minutes it started to get louder and we knew the ice cream was nearly ready. And it was – the mixture had expanded nicely, although it was too soft to serve. It definitely needed a spell in the freezer first.
The instructions say "best served straight from machine, unless you prefer firmer texture" but it really is less ice cream and more thick shake after half an hour. A bit longer might have given a firmer texture, but wait too long with an ice cream maker and either the bottom of the mix freezes solid or the bowl thaws and stops cooling it.
Cleaning up was fine – the lid and paddle are large but easy to wash and packing away is superb thanks to its unusual combination of cable and plug storage underneath.
Yes, if you're looking for an affordable ice cream maker that churns out good-quality ice cream then look no further. If you have a slightly bigger budget then the Cuisinart Ice Cream Deluxe produces slightly better results.
A superb budget ice cream maker that will pay for itself in no time.