In addition to dropping non-stop pun-tastic pints, Ben & Jerry’s love to work with themes. A couple years back it was the novelty-driven Cores, followed by the one-upped Cookie Cores, last year it was the “whoops we ordered way too many fudge flakes” line, and this year it’s all about truffles. All three of B&J’s new releases to kick off the coveted ice cream season revolve around the ganache-centric European staple, including Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake, which pairs a caramel cheesecake ice cream with graham cracker-covered cheesecake truffles and chocolate cookie swirls. Do you have a respirator handy, cause my breathing is HEAVY!
The caramel cheesecake ice cream is…odd. It isn’t super cheesecake-y or caramel-y and feels like one of those bases that tries to do too much without really achieving a single flavor. It’s definitely sweet and has a decently smooth and creamy texture, but it doesn’t carry any of the richness or depth that I would expect from something as potentially sumptuous as a caramel cheesecake. The more that I eat it the more it just becomes a kind of nondescript sweet that reminds me of cake batter without any of the fun vanilla flair.
Where this flavor really starts to lose me are the graham cracker coated cheesecake truffles. I love cheesecake in ice cream, and even more so when graham is involved, but these truffles carry an odd unpleasant funkiness and lack the decadence I expect from cheesecake. The flavor reminds me much more of vanilla yogurt with a dash of cream cheese, and the graham coating is so thin it’s pretty much non-existent. I will give B&J’s props with the density though, as there are plenty all throughout the pint and in pretty good size, but I don’t like them to the point that I’m dodging them towards the end of my digging. With how great the cheesecake mix-ins have been in newer releases from Coolhaus and even companies not known for mix-ins like Talenti’s Raspberry Cheesecake, these truffles just aren’t doing it for me.
The chocolate cookie swirls, just like in classics like Milk & Cookies, are solid, and help make this flavor decently enjoyable when they glob up in bigger chunks. The combination of the slightly bitter and gritty cookie swirl with the oddly sweet base makes for a tasty cookies and cream sort of bite, but as the least important supporting role player in the lineup, it isn’t enough to make this a very good flavor.
Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles is the perfect example of trying to do too much and not nailing any particular flavor while half-assing a handful of elements. This same profile could have been much stronger with a pure cheesecake base and dual action swirls of cookies and caramel accented by more true tasting rich cheesecake bites. Back to the drawing board with this one, my friends.
Fond at: Safeway ($4.99)