Thursday, November 4, 2010
Stone Ridge Creamery: Polar Bursts Mint Chocolate Chip
Polar Bursts are actually a knockoff version of Dippin' Dots -- which, believe it or not, I have never tried. Back in the late 80's and early 90's, Dippin' Dots would easily be found at malls or arcades/fun centers -- but even as teenager I was an ice cream snob, and I had already created my much-repeated mantra: If I am going to suffer for eating dairy, I will do it only for the best. And in those situations where the choice was Dippin' Dots or something by, say, Haagen-Dazs...which do you think was going to win? Besides, Dippin' Dots proudly proclaimed that theirs was the "ice cream of the future," and I personally liked things the old school way.
Well, here we are, well into the Twenty-First Century, and old school ice cream is still alive and well (and, to be fair, Dippin' Dots is still alive and kicking also). But now we have supermarket versions of the Dots. I will be honest; while I have long thought of giving this style of ice cream a try, it was really the fact that it was on sale for fifty cents that was the final motivator.
Stone Ridge apparently makes several flavors of Polar Burst, but my store only had Neapolitan and Mint Chocolate Chip. The ice cream is packaged as a single serving in its own little plastic bowl. While it is a generous portion, the only thing I did not like about the packaging is that it has a "yogurt style" foil lid, which means that it is not resealable. (Yes, of course you could always plastic-wrap the top or transfer the dots to a sealable package, but that is not the point.)
Even if I remain skeptical about the ice cream and its packaging, I have to admit that there is something cool about eating something whose original version was created by a microbiologist. I dunno, I guess it's my inner Alton Brown coming out.
So after all of this, how did it taste?
Well, it is a fun way to eat ice cream. The familiar flavor of Mint Chocolate Chips is there. But instead of a creamy (well, hopefully creamy) mouthfeel, there are these cold, melty little beads. It is like eating no other ice cream or ice cream type product I have ever had. The orbs vary a bit in size and that keeps it interesting.
Flavor-wise, the bursts are almost a little too cold. It's not cold enough to cause ice burn in your mouth, but it does numb the taste down. The orbs separated easily, so I don't think it was from being in my freezer, but I could be wrong.
When they do melt down enough to taste them, the ice cream tastes like every other store-brand level Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream on the planet. It's not the most complex chocolate nor brightest mint you will have ever tasted -- but there's nothing particularly wrong with it either.
Once the bursts have melted in your mouth to the point they are no longer as cold (or as orb-shaped), the texture, like the flavor, is like every store-brand level of ice cream out there. It's not super fatty or rich, and it seems as if it is overly aerated. It's serviceable, but entirely forgettable.
It really is all about the shapes and the texture. This has, if nothing else, inspired me to try to track down some of the name-brand version to see if I feel the same way. I can definitely see why kids love these. Try them for the texture novelty, but hard core ice cream fans be warned: you are not going to be knocked out by the ice cream itself.
I rated it at a 6 because of the texture. If it had been only for the ice cream quality, I would place it at a 3.
160 calories per 5 fluid ounce container.