Thursday, June 20, 2013

Haagen-Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato (An Ice Cream Review)

My induction into the world of gelato thus far has been almost exclusively from Talenti, and I’ve been impressed. It seems like gelato is cropping up more and more frequently in grocery stores, and Haagen-Dazs has jumped on the bandwagon with their new gelato line.

After becoming addicted to Talenti’s Sea Salt Caramel, and likewise impressed with Ciao Bella Sea Salt Caramel, I wanted to try H-D’s version by the same name. While I don’t find their ice cream as dense and creamy as other premium brands, I was curious as to whether their gelato could capture a smoother texture.

Like gelato usually is, this stuff was super soft and easy to scoop from the second I pulled it out of the freezer. It’s a nice beige color, much like the Dulce de Leche ice cream. Aside from the initial glimpse of caramel swirl before I started scooping, I was disappointed by the apparent lack of swirl as I transfered from semi-pint to bowl.

The base gelato is a very sweet, buttery caramel. That’s buttery and texture AND taste. I didn’t get any indication of salt until I hit a stream of swirl. It’s the only salty part of this gelato, and it makes a nice contrast to the base. In fact, it’s like a saltier version of Dulce de Leche with a stronger caramel base. And more (though still not enough for me) swirl. The swirl alone makes it saltier than Talenti’s version, while still maintaining some of the same sweet undertones.

It’s certainly creamier than their ice cream, which is a plus, but not as thick and smooth as Talenti. The H-D swirl seems to have integrated itself into the base, because I couldn’t always pick it out visually even though it was definitely tasteable. H-D’s version is also at a disadvantage because they didn’t include the caramel-filled truffles like Talenti or their own Salted Caramel Truffle ice cream.

Still, I enjoyed it. It certainly blows Dulce de Leche out of the water, and I feel slightly more sophisticated for having tried another brand of gelato.
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