It was bound to happen at some time. After the huge craze of “diet” ice cream’s expanded from Halo Top and Enlightend to Breyer’s, Three Twins, and even Ben & Jerry’s, Talenti have joined the party with their own spin on reduced calorie gelato. Rather than boosting up protein content like Halo or whipping some extra air during churning like Dreyer’s and B&J, Talenti have opted to go the reduced sugar route by way of soluble corn fiber, sugar alcohol, and monk fruit extract. Sounds kind of like Talenti are taking a page from Quest’s book, and that makes me a little nervous. The naturally lower fat gelato gets an even greater fat reduction and significant caloric decrease with this new formula, but how will the texture and flavor fare?
This is a very straight forward flavor composed of cinnamon-steeped vanilla gelato with a cinnamon swirl, and to my surprise, it’s actually really good. The texture of the gelato is almost identical to regular Talenti and the cinnamon flavor is robust and strong. One of my favorite Talenti flavors is Caramel Apple Pie, and while the “cinnamon-steeped” base isn’t quite as strong as the pure cinnamon one in the pie pint, it’s strong enough to satisfy my spice-affinity and comes through in every bite.
The little flecks of spice compliment the moderately sweet vanilla really well, which gets amplified by the runny caramel-esque cinnamon swirl. Similar to the beautiful cinnamon goo that seeps out of a cinnamon roll, the swirl is sweet and spicy with a great presence and just enough flair to make the scoop interesting.
The biggest shocker for me is that I can’t detect the monk fruit or sugar alcohols at all. This might be because there’s still ten grams of actual sugar per serving to help mask it, but compared to the 25 plus in a regular Talenti serving I’m surprised I can’t tell more of a difference. The natural sweetness of the cinnamon helps carry the flavor along for an experience that’s really simple but very well executed. I knew there wouldn’t be any big chunks or mix-ins to chomp on so the basic-ness of the pint wasn’t a letdown, and as a big supporter of cinnamon my tastebuds are very satisfied.
Mint Cookie Crunch:
This is a cookie-ified spin on the mint chip staple nearly every ice cream company produces and unfortunately it doesn’t fare nearly as well as the cinnamon. The mint base is notably thinner and lacking almost any of the body I expect from a regular gelato. It’s so lacking in depth that is has a watery finish and is less exciting than anything I’ve had from Talenti before.
The flavor doesn’t get much better, with an incredibly bland minty presence that is nothing short of full on disappointment. While the mint is there, it fades very quickly, and the final note is less mint and more artificial tasting than what I anticipated. The chocolate cookie’s are good but too small to have any real impact. A nice chomp and a bit of cocoa burst comes with each bite but the base is so bland that I’d rather just have a cookie.
Talenti’s low sugar take on mint simply doesn’t work, and is much less enjoyable than the even lower calorie and lower sugar offerings from Halo Top and Enlightened. It’s shocking to see such a stark contrast in execution between the two flavors, but I would highly recommend steering clear of this thin green mess.
Both found at: Safeway ($4.99)