Friday, February 25, 2011
Haagen-Dazs Five: Caramel Ice Cream
I was trolling the ice cream selection at the old mega mart on my last shopping trip and noticed that Haagen-Dazs had added a caramel flavor to the Five lineup. That said, my local store is actually really slow on getting the new Haagen-Dazs flavors -- so I'm not exactly sure how long ago Caramel was tossed into the mix.
I do love caramel ice cream though, and since the "death" of the heavenly Fleur De Sel Caramel (the only way that could have been better was if I got to lick it off Gerard Butler), Ben & Jerry's Dulce Delish (which, although I have eaten way more pints of than I care to admit, I have somehow managed to not review to this day) has picked up the title of current favorite. (Note to my friends at B&J -- if you would like to arrange for me to lick Dulce Delish off Gerard Butler I am perfectly willing to take one for the team. Just sayin'...) Anyway, for a full-fat ice cream that's still in the Haagen-Dazs lineup, they also have the now-classic Dulce de Leche, which is also pretty darned yummy.
I have to admit I always sort of eye the Five line with suspicion. It seems when a flavor is good it's really good, but when it's bad it's enough to make me seriously regret the lactose issues I'll be stuck with for the next few hours. And I am still a little bitter that the Brown Sugar flavor got discontinued (though to be fair, I think I may have been the only person on the planet who liked it).
What I like about the Five line is that in terms of ingredients, it is as simple and close to homemade as you can get, with each flavor containing only -- you guessed it -- five ingredients. It's also slighter lower in fat and calories than the rest of the Haagen-Dazs line. Admittedly, I would rather simply have less of something with higher fat because I prefer the mouth feel and texture -- and since I'll to have to deal with dairy issues anyway, I'd at least like to enjoy it to the max before the inevitable happens. But for people who are just watching the numbers, it's a great option to have.
So how did it scoop up?
Flavor-wise really, really well. It is completely on par with the classic Dulce de Leche. It's sweet of course, but not overly sickly sweet. The caramel is heavily on the milky side, but sadly there is no caramel swirl (which was one of the best parts of Dulce de Leche). It's not a complex caramel but it is still tasty. I wish that there was a little salt kick to add some zazz, but then I guess that would make it six ingredients rather than five, and that would kinda defeat the purpose. The flavor also wanes quickly -- as in under five minutes. I will grant you that eating anything cold tends to dull the tongue, but even bringing it close to room temperature gave the same results...along with melted ice cream.
Texture-wise, like all of the Five line, it's on the soft and fluffy side. It's funny how that works for some flavors and not so well for others. Fortunately, this is one of the flavors that it does work for. It has a silky smooth mouth feel, and when it melts it glides down your throat in a happy puddle. Also like the rest of its Five siblings, it doesn't have the rich, fatty mouth feel of its bigger cousins -- but for a lighter calorie, lighter fat option, it really is top notch.
Best Five flavor since my beloved Brown Sugar.
240 Calories per 1/2 cup serving