Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Talenti Southern Butter Pecan (A Gelato Review)

With a coupon for a pint of Talenti burning a hole in my pocket, I knew just which flavor I wanted to try: their third and final new gelato, Southern Butter Pecan. Seeing as I’m now a “southerner,” it only seemed appropriate.

Just looking through the clear container makes my mouth water. The thick ribbons of caramel running through the beige gelato look just as rich and tantalizing as those in Caramel Cookie Crunch. Talenti describes this as “a thick, delicious, buttery background with butter roasted pecans, and a ribbon of Talenti’s signature dulce de leche.”

You would not believe the smell coming off of this thing as soon as you open it. Usually ice cream doesn’t smell all that strong anyway, and when I think of butter pecan, I think of a nice mellow background to the pecans and caramel. But oh how wrong I was even before I took a bite!

The shock just keeps coming. I took a small bite...and I had to put my spoon down and back away from this pint while I took it in. The assault of the base was just too much at first. Cautiously, I came back for another try, because...well, I’ve never turned down any ice cream after just one tiny spoonful, and this one was $4 even after using my coupon and I wasn’t going to give up on it that easily.

Words can’t adequately describe the absolute buttery-ness of the base. Like the Sea Salt and Argentine Caramels, it’s thick enough to almost be chewy, while still somehow being creamy instantly out of the freezer. Being gelato, it melts faster than most ice creams, but that doesn’t dilute the butter at all. Nope, not a bit.

The caramel swirl is the same one that I know and love from Caramel Cookie Crunch, only it’s muted by the base. Really, that butter just takes over everything! But the swirl is super thick and gooey. I got a spoonful that was mainly caramel, and as always I love the sweet, almost chewy dulce de leche. The first time I tasted Talenti’s caramel swirl, I decided it was the best one out there, and I haven’t changed my mind. I just needed a minimal-butter spoon to remind me of that.

Now, you know I’m not one for nuts in ice cream. I’m not really a huge nut fan in general, but here they are a welcome addition. The huge, whole pecans are a sanctuary from all the butter bombarding my mouth. They’re buttery on the outside, but not inside. In fact, next to the base they almost seem flavorless, and that’s OK because, really, I was crying for a break. Thank god for pecans!

I know it sounds like I hated this gelato, but I really didn’t. After a while I think I started to get used to the base, or at least not as overwhelmed by it. I do wish the other flavors could have more of an impact, but I suppose Talenti has never been one for mild bases; they should label it Southern BUTTER Pecan. I’m glad I tried it, but it’s probably not coming back to my freezer once I finish this pint. And I may think twice the next time I reach for a butter pecan flavor, thinking of a nice mild treat. That’s Talenti for you.
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