Outside of the beloved Creamsicle, citrus doesn’t get a whole lotta love in the dairy game. Sure, there are lemon sorbet’s for days, but that combination of sweet sweet dairy and acidic punch is far less common than it should be. None of the big players in the game like Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen-Dazs ever toy with that pairing, and it’s kind of a shame. Even more uncommon is the magical combination of chocolate and citrus, which seems to be reserved for the holiday’s and those weird little jelly sticks you can buy at Trader Joe’s and other craft candy stores. It’s a combo that really works, pairing bitter and sweet and tart in a way that tickles every part of my tongue. When I came across a flavor from Vice that combines all of these elements into one during the peak of spring I couldn’t help but get pumped. L’Orange A Trois combines vanilla ice cream with an orange ripple and dark, milk, and white chocolate chunks.
By far the best element of this pint is the orange ripple. It looks cool, it’s unique, and it tastes really good. It has a distinct sweet orange zest flavor and syrupy texture that’s unlike anything I’ve really had before. It isn’t your usual fruity swirl, but instead embraces the fluorescent color and profile of something like Tang and it really works for me. When combined with the vanilla ice cream it comes through with a classic creamsicle vibe and that balance of creamy and acidic is one that I will always enjoy.
The weakest part of the pint, unfortunately, is the actual vanilla ice cream itself. While it isn’t necessarily bad, it’s far from great, with a middle of the road vanilla flavor that’s lacking any real vanilla bean or rich dairy depth. The texture for some reason is a bit chalky on the finish, which gets better with aggressive tempering, but even when almost completely melted it has a strange not fully creamy mouthfeel. Again, the combination of the base with the swirl is really great, and fortunately there’s enough of the swirl to help amplify the mediocre vanilla to something that’s pretty enjoyable.
In between the so-so base and the fun ripple are the trio of chocolate chunks, which are pretty well executed. While they’re definitely on the smaller side, they’re pretty ample throughout and each one does have a distinct texture and flavor. The milk chocolate is soft and creamy and the dark chocolate has a firmer snap with a dryer texture that makes it stand out. I love white chocolate in ice cream and while the chunks here are a far cry from the greatness of the Magnum tub, they have a soft cocoa butter flavor that pairs well with the base for a more elevated vanilla flavor.
L’Orange A Trois is a really fun concept with just enough flare as a whole to cover up some of the problems of the individual elements. I’ve had issues in the past with Vice letting me down on their ripple game, and fortunately for them (and me) the wonderfully weird orange ribbon added just enough zing and zip to make this a pretty fun scoop.
Found at: Safeway ($4.99)