Friday, April 19, 2013

Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche (An Ice Cream Review)

I’ve recently started incorporating Haagen-Dazs into my regular ice cream exploits, having been through a ton of Ben & Jerry’s already (I’ve started repeat-buying my favorites). When I stopped on campus to see how I could spend the unused LionCash on my student id, their B&J’s offerings were a bit dull. But they had Haagen-Dazs! With the discontinuation of B&J’s Dulce Delish (which I was lucky enough to snag before it disappeared forever), I was curious whether Haagen-Dazs’ Dulce de Leche could replace it.

Haagen-Dazs described this ice cream as “inspired by Latin America’s treasured dessert, our dulce de leche ice cream is a delicious combination of caramel and sweet cream, swirled with ribbons of golden caramel.”

It’s not much to look at at first glance. As with Dulce Delish, I was worried that it would be too boring, since I am a total chunk/mix-in person. But I also love caramel, so I dug in.

Despite its surface appearance, there are multiple caramel swirls hiding throughout the pint. These swirls are gooey even when frozen, though not very thick. There also aren’t a whole lot of them, which means that most of the ice cream’s merit comes from...well, the ice cream.

I appreciate that, since sometimes too many mix-ins can minimize a  good base and you just can’t appreciate its quality. In terms of taste, this is a lot like Dulce Delish: a very sweet, rich caramel throughout, even when there isn’t any swirl. It’s definitely an ice cream for when you’re craving caramel. Otherwise, it gets a little boring.

That said, it’s lacking. The texture seems less creamy than B&J’s, even a little gritty. This does improve as it melts, but it never quite measures up. It’s not as smooth as Talenti’s Sea Salt Caramel or, despite Talenti’s lack of swirl, as caramelly. The Haagen-Dazs just isn’t as rich and dense.

The swirl is also disappointingly infrequent, not very gooey (I love my goo!), and thin. That said, the overall caramel flavor is well done, lingering in the back of your mouth with a milky vibe. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly quality ice cream, but it’s not going to find its way back to my freezer. Sorry, H-D. Ben & Jerry’s wins this round.
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