REVIEW: Salt & Straw Chocolate Caramel Potato Chip Cupcake

According to a 2015 survey by Yahoo!, America’s favorite dessert is ice cream, and with good reason.  The combination of sugar and fat with melty texture and an endless array of combinations creates the ultimate eating experience that cannot be replaced or replicated in any way.  As good as store bought brands and chains like Baskin Robbins can be, there are smaller craft companies that are churning out ice cream that takes the art to a whole new level.  At the top of the small scale ice cream game is Portland’s Salt & Straw, and for March they brought back a handful of fan favorites from years past for a repeat performance.  Among these flavors is Chocolate Caramel Potato Chip Cupcake, which combines a malted salted chocolate ice cream with cupcake pieces frosted with chocolate ganache, chocolate coated potato chips, and a ribbon of housemade caramel.

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The textures and flavors in this pint are nothing short of a masterpiece.  The malted chocolate base is rich and sweet with a salty undertone that cuts through and reminds me a lot of Salt & Straw’s woodblock chocolate without the flakes.  It has a lighter milk chocolate flavor accented by the malt that serves as a perfect backdrop to the layers of decadence that unfold as I eat in absolute glee.  The chocolate covered chips are big crunchy boulders with an intense super dark bittersweet chocolate coating that tastes like the blackened midnight sky before exploding with a salty potato finish.  These aren’t just the best chips I’ve ever had in an ice cream but some of the best chocolate covered chips I’ve ever had anywhere, with a flawless, deep, cocoa sweet salty finesse that is divine.

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The chocolate cupcake pieces have been soaked in coffee syrup which gives them a rich, almost booze-y flavor that differentiates them from the extreme bitter darkness of the potato chips.  Some of the pieces are soft and gooey like tres leches cake and others have firmed up and have a denser texture like chewy brownies.  The cake pieces are accompanied by a chocolate ganache, which again, is intensely dark and bittersweet in the best way.  Some of the ganache has broken away from the cake and become soft chewy chocolate fudge chunks of black magic voodoo.

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What really brings this flavor together and makes the whole thing sing is the generous swirl of thick rich caramel that sticks to my spoon and makes my tongue do cartwheels for more.  It’s sweet and dense and tastes exactly the way a caramel should, like the sugar cooked down for hours before finally seizing to become the smooth brown butterfly it always knew it could.  The swirling puddles of caramel were evident from the first scoop and weaved in and out of the entire pint, running down the side of the carton and bringing bliss to the three distinct, expertly executed layers of chocolate.

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When you see so many different components crammed into one flavor it’s easy to write it off as a gimmick, but with Salt & Straw it’s as far from a gimmick as you can possibly get.  All the pieces perfectly compliment each other to create an exciting, addictive, and perfect ice cream experience that needs to be tasted to be believed.

Rating: 10/10
Found at: http://www.saltandstraw.com

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