Taste Test Tuesday: Doughnuts
I may or may not have just discovered doughnut glaze in my hair.
It’s a small price to pay for the aftermath of our first Taste Test Tuesday, conducted by some of the staff here at Coastal Virginia Magazine. On many occasions, we’ve set out to find the very best of something in Hampton Roads, and oftentimes, we even ask for your help, like in our annual Best Of Readers’ Choice contest. This time, however, we’re doing the legwork for you—because we like to make life simple sometimes and because we like to eat all the time.
When we discussed foods to try for our first Taste Test Tuesday (TTT, for short), several items came to mind, but we chose doughnuts for their luscious, sweet taste, pillowy texture and pure simplicity—and because we really wanted doughnuts. We decided that although many local doughnut shops specialize in seemingly endless combinations of glazes and toppings, the only way to be fair was to order a simple glazed doughnut from each of the five chosen doughnut shops. (We came to realize that it’s literally impossible to go into a doughnut shop and order just one doughnut—try it if you don’t believe us—so naturally, we ended up with several—ahem, dozens—of fun flavor and topping combinations to share among our coworkers.) Needless to say, it’s a happy day for us all.
Anyway, on to the taste testing. We first placed each doughnut onto a paper plate, with the doughnut shop labeled on the bottom so that we wouldn’t know which was which. Then we divided each doughnut into four sections.
The four tasters made notes and paid special attention to these qualities: appearance, aroma, texture and flavor. We ranked them from 1 to 5;1 being the least impressed and 5 wowing our socks off, with 20 possible overall points to earn. Some testers even threw in decimal points for good measure. Here are our findings, or doughnut data, if you will.
1. O’DoodleDoo’s Donuts | Overall Score: 5.5
1601 Bridge Rd., Suffolk
A. Not a strong smell. Bland flavor. Score: 1.5
B. Weak smell, bland glaze. Score: 1.5
C. When biting into this doughnut the texture seemed more dough-like. Didn't have much flavor or expected doughnut aroma. Glaze was just ok. Score: 1.5.
D. Not very much smell. Lacking in flavor. Not enough glaze on the entire doughnut; only on top. Score: 1
2. Amazing Glazed | Overall Score: 8
321 Jamestown Rd., Chesapeake
A. Slight smell but nothing all that appealing. A bit heavy and doughy. This was just ok—a bit disappointing. Score: 2
B. OK...no aroma, bland and heavy. Score: 2
C. The appearance was nice but the donut was heavy in texture, bland flavor with no aroma, and the glaze did not add much sweetness. Score: 1
D. Subtly sweet, not too dry but not the rich, moist texture I enjoy in a doughnut. Just ok. Score: 3
3. O’s Donuts | Overall Score: 11.5
222 W 21st Street, Norfolk
A. A nice, lighter texture with a crunchy glaze. I enjoyed the opposing textures. Pretty sweet, not too heavy but a bit dry. Pleasing smell. Score: 3
B. Low moisture, crispy texture, light glaze, good smell. Score: 3.5
C. The texture was good with a well balanced amount of glaze, not too sweet. Score: 3.
D. A little dry. Crispy on the outside. Nice, light flavor. Score: 2
4. Happy Days Donuts | Overall Score: 15.5
1580 Crossways Blvd. #105, Chesapeake
A. Lighter in appearance and feel. Fluffy and moist. Heavy on the glaze for me, making it really sweet but the light, airy texture earns it a high score. Score: 3.5
B. Sweet, fluffy and light texture, minimal glaze, solid effort. Score: 4
C. Super fluffy in texture with a lighter color, crispy glaze, wonderful light flavor. I wanted to try more. Score: 4.
D. Moist, perfect texture, super sweet, lots of yummy flavor, nice crunchy glaze. Score: 4
5. Winner: Duck Donuts | Overall Score: 16.5
Location visited: 1908 Landstown Centre Way, Virginia Beach
A. Nice, golden brown color contrasting with a pale yellow center. Appears as if the glaze has melted into the inside of the donut. Smells similar to funnel cake and tastes like it also. This donut is more cakey and less sweet, which I really like. Love the flavor of this one. Worth the calories. Score: 4
B. Funnel cake smell, less sweet, cake-like consistency. Score: 4.5
C. A donut light in texture, full delicious cake flavor, darker in color with a light glaze that seemed more absorbed into the entire donut, not just spread on top. Score: 4.
D. Cakey texture, just enough density. Smells like heaven. Not too sweet, nice crisp. Score: 4
Congratulations to our winner of today’s TTT, Duck Donuts. Read more about their cakey, heaven-sent confections here.
It’s worth noting that even though we weren’t head over heels for all of the simple glazed doughnut selections, we do recommend trying some of the flavored glazes and toppings from each place because we noticed some super creative flavor combinations for each location. For example, the chocolate doughnut topped with crushed Oreos from O’Doodle Doo’s was phenomenal with a chocolately, cake-like texture and nostalgic with the gummy worm on top.
So in other words, you may draw your own sweet conclusions.