Caffeine is the most widely abused drug in the world, and I’ve got to imagine alcohol isn’t too far behind it. Most people start their day with a steaming cup of coffee and end it with an ice cold brewski or glass of wine; and the two beverages allow us to get our days rollin’ and then wind them down, respectively. In my funny little world, I would rather start my day off with the coffee and end it with a nice creamy scoop of some high quality ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s Truffles line has a new solution to all of my problems with Chillin’ the Roast, which combines cold brew coffee ice cream with chocolate cookie-covered coffee liqueur truffles and a fudge swirl.
Cold brew is all the rage, and this base is pretty poppin’. Seemingly studded with flecks of coffee grounds, the ice cream has a decently strong coffee flavor that’s rounded out by sweet notes of vanilla and a pronounced smoothness, not too different from cold brew itself. Take it for what it’s worth, coming from a guy who drinks black coffee every day, but the flavor isn’t too strong and overall well balanced. It’s much less sweet than the coffee caramel in One Sweet World, but not so bitter that it takes away from the indulgence.
What isn’t as well balanced though, are the coffee liqueur truffles. I like some booziness in my ice cream, but the bitterness of the alcohol mixed with the strong coffee flavor creates an unpleasant and astringent pairing that just isn’t sweet enough for a dessert. The small amount of cookie crumble coating on the outside doesn’t help at all either, adding a touch more bitterness without anymore sugary intrigue. The texture is also kind of squishy and off-putting, and while I do like that it reminds me of those alcohol filled novelty chocolate bottles, I don’t enjoy the actual taste, and once again find myself dodging the truffles like in the cheesecake iteration.
I can’t remember the last time I had a great fudge swirl in a grocery ice cream pint and I’m happy to say that Ben & Jerry’s are putting that trend to an end. The fudge swirl in Chillin’ the Roast is thick and delicious with a great gooey mouthfeel and much needed sweetness that helps offset some of the built up bitterness of the truffles. It has a genuine scoop shop fudge flavor that steers clear of the Hershey’s syrup profile and makes my spoon a real happy digger.
As good as the fudge is, it isn’t good enough or ample enough to save the flavor as a whole from the grip of the astringent truffles. I’ve been very critical of Ben & Jerry’s with last years Urban Bourbon for not being nearly boozy enough, but this one goes too far in the other direction and gets a bit heavy handed with its Saturday night surprise. I’m all for coffee in ice cream and turning up the heat with some alcohol, but maybe not together, as that upper and downer combo ultimately kind of kills my vibe.
Found at: Safeway ($4.99)