Monday, April 29, 2013

Round 4: Häagen-Dazs Class of 2013

For the past few years Häagen-Dazs has only introduced new ice cream products as Limited Edition flavors. Their usage of the term "limited" is liberal considering some of these flavors have been featured for multiple years and a few have graduated to being members of the Häagen-Dazs canon (currently, those include Blueberry Crumble and Dark Chocolate). Anything to move product, I suppose. This year, two of the four limited edition flavors are new. I was delighted to snatch them up with the hope of erasing the unfortunate experience of eating three members of the new Häagen-Dazs Gelato collection. (Yuck.) Onto better things: the new flavors!

Peanut Butter Pie - peanut butter ice cream with a peanut butter swirl and chocolate cookie pieces
I come from the land of peanuts. They are one of Virginia's major agricultural products. It is inconceivable for me to imagine a meal at Virginia Diner--the combination plate with pulled pork BBQ and Virginia ham, collards and fried apples, biscuits, plus Waldorf salad and an extra side of carrot soufflé, plus tasting off of everyone else's plate--that didn't end with a slice of their famous Peanut Pie.

For the sake of transparency, I should mention that peanut butter has never been a flavor I've had strong feelings about as a dessert. Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter is the only peanut butter ice cream that I've purchased twice, though maybe not even thrice. So, of anyone, Häagen-Dazs had the best chance of winning me over.

My first bites proved promising. There was subtlety to the peanut butter ice cream and the chocolate cookie pieces. But once my taste buds met with the gloop of peanut butter swirl in the pint's middle, it was the only flavor I could taste. The flavor wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly dessert-y unless you enjoy eating sugary peanut butter by the spoonful to get your sweet fix. (I do not, but I realize others do.) Happily, the pint ended devoid of peanut butter swirl, reminding me of the subtle flavor I enjoyed when I first cracked the lid.

Bourbon Pecan Praline - bourbon ice cream with a brown sugar bourbon swirl and praline pecans
I had high hopes for this, though in retrospect I'm not sure why. My consumption of alcohol is limited to chicken wing sauces that have been hitting the sauce. The flavor was boozy, sickly sweet and gross. It tasted how inner-city liquor stores smell, the type where pocket rockets are the best sellers. I forced myself to take more bites when I really wanted it to end. When I revisited the pint for a second tasting, the odor was enough to drive me away.

I consulted the roommates on whether the bourbon flavor was genuine or artificial. Mike said the taste was completely artificial, "like someone tried to make bourbon with sugar." Makes sense: bourbon is nowhere to be found in the ingredient list. Mike did not take a second bite. As for Boren and Jamie, they enjoyed the flavor saying it tasted like bourbon, though with a "candied" flavor. They were pleased to be offered the remainder of the pint.

Luckily, Häagen-Dazs also has two other ways of getting one's pecan fix:  Butter Pecan and Pralines & Cream (a Walgreen's exclusive flavor).

This year, there are two other Limited Edition flavors available who are ineligible to compete in the tournament because they were members of the Häagen-Dazs class of 2012: Coconut Macaroon (Best of 2012! Amazing!) and Salted Caramel Truffle (Less so!). Check them out if you didn't last year.


This round's winner: Peanut Butter Pie

The AICM (April Ice Cream Madness) Tournament continues with the Championship Round...

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