Sunday, March 11, 2012

Haagen Dazs Limited Edition Flavors, Part 2

Another week and more ice cream to taste. Surely, I have set a row that is too tough to hoe - but I will press on with two more entries in the current portfolio of Haagen Dazs Limited Edition Flavors.

Coconut Macaroon - This entry comes just in time for Passover, with it's memories of a clump of stuck together macaroons served out of a Manischewitz can. The picture on the package certainly triggers this association, as Haagen Dazs's cookie looks remarkably like those. They are most definitely not piggy-backing onto the current craze for filled French macaroons (or macarons) that seem to be edging out cupcakes as NYC's treat du jour. While Manischewitz macaroons are still served at our Seders, I have been making my own with a simple recipe of egg whites, ground almonds and sugar and enjoying those more. However, I am a coconut hound in general so I put any concerns aside when sampling this flavor. Unfortunately, the best I can say is that it's not bad. There is plenty of coconut flavor, but it lacks depth somehow. It doesn't fade out but seems to just come to a full stop on the palate. Also, the macaroon bits are so small that I found my tongue working hard to seek out the barest bits of browned and caramelized coconut, hoping to find the depth of flavor there. I found it surprising that the ingredients for their macaroon did not include egg whites, but according to a little research that is not uncommon. In any case, I don't think that is the issue with this just OK flavor. Coconut fans only need apply.

Salted Caramel Truffle - The combination of salt and caramel has also become ubiquitous around town in recent years, most recently in the form of insanely great milkshakes at Schnipper's Quality Kitchen and Five Napkin Burger, among other hotspots. Anyone who has enjoyed one of those shakes or fleur de sel caramels (Haagen Dazs's inspiration for this flavor) - or even a chocolate covered pretzel - knows that the combination of salty and sweet is often a winning one. I have to admit that after the milquetoast attempt to replicate affogato, I was a little gun shy before tasting this variety. While it was hard to see how they could go wrong with "smooth, sweet-cream ice cream, ribbons of rich salted caramel, and decadent chocolaty truffles," anything was possible at this point. Just serving it up, however, gave me great hope. The caramel swirl was visible and the truffles huge in this context (see picture). And the taste and mouthfeel did more than not disappoint - they were positively thrilling. The caramel flavor was rich and seemed to go on forever, with a depth and complexity that was very satisfying and left me hungering for more. The hint of sea salt (right there in the list of ingredients) was just right, adding to the layers but not overwhelming the palate. This one is a real winner, folks - grab it!

Availability - Coconut Macaroon: February to September; Salted Caramel Truffle: February to December.

I'm still on the hunt for the Blueberry Crumble - let me know if you spot it somewhere. In the meantime, I am getting acquainted with a very interesting whiskey...




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