Although still technically autumn, the flavor gods have officially decided it’s time to be immersed in a wintery mintery wonderland as crisp and cool as the air outside. For the last week or so it feels like the air may as well be peppermint flavored as that has been the dominant taste every time I’ve opened my mouth. Baskin Robbins have decided to fittingly join the party with their December flavor of the month Peppermint Bark in the Dark.
Originally released in December of 2013, the flavor is as straight forward as it sounds – peppermint bark in chocolate ice cream. The pairing of chocolate and mint is one of the most classic holiday flavors around, so classic that unlike eggnog or pecan pie it can be found year round in everything from York Peppermint Patties to BR’s own Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. It’s this common-place profile that makes this flavor a little bit of a letdown as the headliner of a year that brought both a new spin on a Halloween flavor (Trick Oreo Treat Dark) and cookies and cream mashed up with Frosted Flakes (Oreo Milk ’N Cereal).
The ice cream is good – a rich chocolate base that carries the essence of peppermint in every bite, with the occasional bursts of very strong peppermint and crunch from the bark – it’s just not anything particularly new or exciting. The pieces of bark hold their own and deliver cool bursts that fill your mouth with Christmas cheer, floating along in a chocolate river with glassy-smooth texture. The scoop that I got did not have nearly as many, or as big, chunks of peppermint bark in it as the promotional picture which is a bit of a rare letdown for Baskin Robbins. The picture on their site and ingredients also imply some kind of ribbon which I didn’t have any of. Again, the ice cream is solid and of high quality, just not as good as the previous two years’ December Flavors of the Month – York Peppermint Pattie and Oreo Cool Mint Chocolate – both of which had more elements to keep them exciting.
What would make this a more successful flavor? One more component – a ribbon or swirl or additional mix-in (maybe it was supposed to be there, Baskin HR were of no help trying to figure this out), and maybe something less predictable. Toss a marshmallow swirl in to highlight the white chocolate and call it “Santa’s Rocky Sleigh” or some spiced cookies and caramel and call it “Peppermint Stocking Stuffer” – something along those lines. A perfectly suitable flavor for the holiday’s, just a tad bit boring and not anything you should rush to the scoop shop to try ahead of any other chocolate mint mash ups from other brands in grocery or otherwise.