|Exit, in pursuit of bear.|
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Pick up any ice cream brand that distributes half gallon sizes and you'll discover they have some variation of Moose Tracks, be it the real thing or a knockoff variation aligning itself with a different quadruped. One can tell the "real thing" by the distinct Moose Tracks logo, which stays the same no matter which company is making it. This logo is trademarked to Denali Flavors ice cream, the Michigander brand that originated the flavor seemingly inspired by the appearance of mud on snow after a certain antlered animal's amblings. The company licenses the Moose Tracks name and ingredients to numerous dairies and labels. The same is true, though to a much lesser extent, of a few other of Denali's flavors, including Caramel Caribou, the first triple caramel ice cream I ever encountered. But one of Denali's flavors is greater than them all. It is in fact my favorite of half gallon flavors, a rare flavor I do not grow impatient with when it lingers longer in my freezer than the typical two-or-three time use pint.
Denali's Bear Claw is a dark chocolate ice cream with a caramel swirl and chocolate covered cashews. As I've said many times before, most chocolate ice cream does not taste like chocolate; it tastes like chocolate ice cream, essentially cocoa powder in cream. This flavor serves its function, but doesn't scratch the chocolate itch we chocolate connoisseurs are known to have. So when one finds an ice cream that defies this expectation, offering a darker, richer flavor, it is worthy of note. Bear Claw is one of these ice cream flavors. And layered in are sticky caramel swirls to add some counterpoint to the dark chocolate melody, punctuated by the percussive texture of the salty-sweet chocolate covered cashews. I really wish this flavor were licensed as widely as Moose Tracks because it deserves a wider audience.
Denali's Bear Claw, I salute you.