Saturday, May 3, 2008

Flavor Review: Häagen-Dazs Reserve Series

This new flavor series features rather expensive ice cream made from "rare and unique" ingredients. Some of them are worth shelling out the extra cash for:

Pomegranate Chip - Tied with Ben and Jerry’s Limited Edition Pumpkin Cheesecake, this was my favorite flavor from 2007. The pomegranate flavor is full, unlike many weak fruit-flavored ice creams. (Fruit is generally better in gelatos and sorbets.) The dark chocolate flakes add the perfect amount of sweetness. Dark chocolate ice cream bars are also available for this flavor, but the balance of flavor is better out of the carton.

Amazon Valley Dark Chocolate – I’ve already reviewed this flavor. In short, it is highly recommended.

Brazilian Acai Berry Sorbet – This sorbet was not very flavorful straight out of the freezer
and had a berry seed texture. But I learned (much too late into the carton) that the taste was unlocked by letting the sorbet sit out for a bit. It then became perhaps the most unique sorbet I have ever tasted. Worth trying for sorbet and fruit lovers.

Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle – Remember the
Häagen-Dazs contest to search for the next flavor? Well, it seems this flavor was a runner-up in the 2006 contest! And according to a blog entry from a runner-up from this year’s contest, the creator of Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle did actually receive prize money. (His hope is that his flavor, Coco y Cacao, is selected for this same reason.) As for Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle, I like the coconut ice cream, but, this my first experience with sesame brittle, I did not find it the delicacy others do.

Hawaiian Lehua Honey and Sweet Cream – As promised, this ice cream tastes like honey. I like honey on things, but not as a substance to eat alone. In retrospect, I should have tried this ice cream in tandem with another flavor or complimenting another dessert.

NEW IN 2008! Fleur de Sel (“Flower of Salt”) Caramel – It is a popular hoity-toity practice to eat caramels that have hints of sea salt on top. This is a mixture of salty and sweet that I confess I do not understand. (One I DO understand is chocolate-covered pretzels or chocolate-covered potato chips, which if you’ve never tried, are delicious!) The fact is this ice cream does not seem to have sea salt nuances, as promised. It tastes like a lighter version of Ben and Jerry’s defunct Triple Caramel Chunk or a less creamy version of Denali’s Caramel Caribou.

Note from 2012: The
Häagen-Dazs Reserve Series had an tragically short lifespan, which I attribute to timing. Superpremium pints of ice cream were still an affordable luxury after the collapse of the housing market, but paying even higher prices for more decadent flavors was probably harder for people to justify. These flavors all fit the elegance of the Häagen-Dazs brand, but may never be seen again.

1 comment:

Brad said...

Thanks to Queen Anne's newest resident, Chocolopolis, I tasted Fleur de Sel in its native form. Haagen Dazs was on the right track, but to really capture the taste of these delicious caramels, they need dark chocolate pieces which I think help give context to the caramel.