The word titillates food critics, much as “shoot-out” excites soccer fans and “Wall-E”” does it for Wii-crazed kids.
For 25 years at The San Diego Union-Tribune I was charged with finding NEW! – new restaurants, new wines, new food products, new gadgets. It’s become a habit.
Yesterday, in honor of the looming first day of summer, I scouted supermarket ice cream aisles looking for NEW! frozen desserts.
Here’s what I found:
(Since there’s no such thing as too much ice cream, I’d also like to hear about your favorites, old or new. Just click the COMMENT button below while you wait for that Rockin’ Rocky Road of yours to soften up a bit.)
*** Haagen-Dazs Reserve Fleur de Sel Caramel. H-D takes one of the hottest candy trends and turns it into a creamy, dreamy dessert. The pale, delicately flavored caramel ice cream is laced with caramel ribbons and generously studded with Fleur de Sel caramels covered in a chocolaty coating. (Fleur de Sel is a type of coarse, flavorful salt that’s farmed from the sea in France’s Brittany region.)
The crunchy bits of flaky salt tickle the tongue and enhance the sweet caramel flavor. This is a winner in my book.
*** H-D’s new Mocha Chip is very good, too. The label says the chips are “milk chocolate flavored” – not exactly a rousing come-on. Nonetheless, they do taste good and I liked the contrast between the satiny ice cream and the crunchy “chocolate-flavored” bits. I also like the “wake-up” coffee flavor.
*** I’m not really crazy about Ben & Jerry’s new Imagine Whirled Peace. But, hey, with the shape the world is in these days, I don’t feel I can knock their efforts! (Plus it’s a tribute to John Lennon and we don’t want to knock him either.)
The ingredient list says there’s almond, brown sugar and vanilla flavors in this “caramel and sweet cream ice creams” product. But all I really taste is a pretty plain, very subdued caramel ice cream. However, it is flecked with toffee cookie crumbs and adorable little chocolate peace symbols.
*** Sadly, not every new ice cream flavor out there is worth screaming about.
*** H-D’s new Sticky Toffee ice cream has an odd “cakey” texture and a disagreeable overdose of cinnamon.
(What is it with cinnamon? Manufacturers seem to think it makes us feel all “homey” and “comforted,” whether it belongs in the food in in question or not?)
*** Ben & Jerry’s Cake Batter ice cream, released in honor of the company’s 30th birthday, is downright boring. However, if you’re turned on by the thought of “yellow cake batter ice cream with chocolate frosting swirl,” then, by all means, go for it.
*** And B&J’s new Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream? Well, let’s just say it sounds ("Fudge-Covered Waffle Cone Pieces and Caramel Swirl") much better than it tastes. I found the texture coarse and unappealing. There’s nothing subtle or graceful about the flavor. And the waffle pieces are soggy and taste like cardboard.