Friday, June 28, 2013

Archer Farms Triple Chocolate Gelato

It took me a while, but I finally hit the Super Target closest to me down here in North Carolina. The driving factor was a slew of Ben & Jerry’s coupons plus Target-exclusive flavors I’d never had access to. My freezer was already overflowing, and I’d promised myself two pints, max...and then I saw:

How can you resist a transparent container of such beautiful gelato? Archer Farms, I learned, is Target’s brand. See, not having a Super Target with a respectable food section has really stunted my intellectual growth.

Well, now I’ve been introduced, and I like their way of thinking. I mean, those dark, dark swirls were making me drool in public. The whole thing is just so pretty, with the chocolate shavings and the dark/white separation...I almost hate to ruin it.

Almost. It just looked to delicious to resist.

Now, I’m used to Talenti and Haagen-Dazs and, only recently, Ciao Bella. They are my sole experience in the world of gelato. So I was expecting that same dense, creamy, luxurious texture from this stuff. As soon as I started scooping, it became apparent that this was something else. It came off in blocks, rather than rounded scoops. In fact, it was hard to leave any behind because it just sort of peeled away from the container along with what was actually in the scoop.

Eating it was a whole new experience, too. Whatever this is, it sure isn’t like any gelato I’ve ever had. It’s weird. Actually it’s like eating frozen whipped cream. It’s very airy, but it’s not exactly soft; hence the weird scooping. It gets soft pretty fast once you’ve got it into a bowl, but it doesn’t really “melt” like normal ice cream or gelato. It just smears along the side of the glass. There’s none of that pooling of liquid that you normally get. It’s...weird. Really hard to describe. You’re almost chewing it, even though there are no mix-ins to make it chewy. Oh, wait, you know foamy? Or frothy? Like the froth on the top of hot chocolate when you make it with a real hot chocolate maker? It sort of reminds me of that, only frozen.

OK, sorry for the rambling. But this has to be the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten. (OK, maybe not the weirdest, but close.) On the plus side, I can’t really find fault with the taste. OK, so the chocolate is your basic chocolate. It’s certainly rich, but there’s only so much excitement you can get out of me by confronting me with chocolate ice cream (gelato, in this case). At any rate, it’s more cocoa-y than most chocolate bases, which tend to be sweeter. The white chocolate is much sweeter than the regular chocolate, and softer as well. Personally, I love white chocolate, so this was my favorite part. The swirl, aside from adding visual attractiveness, also contributes a very, very, very deep and dark fudge factor. There’s no question that this is dark chocolate, and it is oh so rich. Rich enough that, even though it doesn’t go through every part of the container, I’m not going to complain about not getting enough.

The little chocolate shavings are mostly for garnish. They add a little bit of crunch and chocolate flavor, but being so thin it’s really not much in the whole scheme of things. This was certainly an adventure. Weird? Yes. Good? Yes. Would I buy it again? ... I’m not sure. Honestly, probably not. But then again, it’s one of those weird things you might get a craving for every once in a while. I’m not sorry it found its way into my basket, that’s for sure.
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