REVIEW: Haagen-Dazs Crispy Layer Trios (Coconut Caramel Chocolate, Lemon Raspberry White Chocolate)

As much as I appreciate Haagen-Dazs’ dedication to lush, full fat ice cream bases, I wasn’t too hot on last year’s Trios line. While the concept was cool – layers of chocolate immersed within two flavors of ice cream, I found the execution a bit blasé and much less interesting than just a standard base, mix-in, and swirl combo. None of the flavors I tried really did much for me, and I always thought that they missed a little bit of the magic that a good ribbon or boulder of a chunk of something chewy and fun can bring to the table. Apparently the folks at HD agreed with me, as this year they decided to up the ante on the layered concept with Crispy Trio Layers, which combines ice cream with the aforementioned chocolate layers but add in a new gooey component for another level of textural excitement.

Coconut Caramel Chocolate

Creamy coconut and chocolate ice cream with crispy Belgian milk chocolate and caramel sauce.

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The coconut ice cream is wonderfully balanced with a great creamy nutty flavor that isn’t too strong or artificial tasting. HD’s chocolate is usually a pretty great base with lush smoothness and cocoa flavor but the chocolate feels a bit thin and muted here. It does work really well with the coconut for a classic pairing that I’ve always enjoyed but it tastes too tame and subdued overall.

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Just like last years Trio, the Belgian chocolate is fine but much too thin to really have a big impact. This feels even more relevant after the release of Magnum’s tubs earlier in 2018 which delivered huge chunks of higher quality and much more flavorful chocolate that actually felt special, whereas this tastes pretty average.

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Where this pint really lets me down is where I hoped to get the biggest improvement. The caramel sauce is buried beneath the layers of chocolate and doesn’t give the sweet boost and gooey-ness that I love from caramel in an ice cream. The taste is actually really good with a definitive saltiness that’s complex and wonderful, there just isn’t nearly enough of it. Ribbons and ripples and swirls do a much better job of bringing something new while scooping, and in this format one of my favorite flavors just gets a bit lost. As a result I’m left mostly with a coconut chocolate chip ice cream that doesn’t beckon me to eat more of it.

Rating: 6.5/10

Lemon Raspberry White Chocolate

Lemon and raspberry ice creams with crispy white chocolate and sweet raspberry sauce.

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Both the lemon and raspberry ice creams have a (no surprise) great creamy texture, but they’re both surprisingly lacking in flavor. There’s no tart lemon zing or acidic raspberry pop, and if I didn’t read lemon on the label I’m not sure I would have known it was a lemon ice cream. The raspberry, while it’s lacking in signature berry acidity, is pretty tasty with a nice fruity flavor that doesn’t hinge towards floral at all.

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The crispy white chocolate is pretty awesome. It’s decently thick, thicker than what I’ve experienced in most other Trio’s, with a wonderful sweet creaminess that crunches before finishing with a great cocoa butter lushness. The raspberry sauce has some of the acidity that the base was missing with a little smooch of sour that’s very welcome to the other sugary components. Some bites unfortunately fall victim to the iciness that fruit can sometimes get in ice cream, and it’s chunky texture isn’t one that I really want.

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While the lemon raspberry layered trio is a more interesting profile, it’s still pretty lackluster and fails to live up to the potential. This pint, as with all of the Trio’s, just isn’t very interesting when compared to the slurry of other options at the grocery store. The addition of the sauce layer is a moderate improvement over the initial launch but still pretty passable overall.

Rating: 6.5/10

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