Putting spicy into sweets is one of the hottest trends in the junk food universe. Sweet Heat Skittles and Starburst, Fire Sour Patch Kids, Butterfinger Smokin’ Hot Peanut Butter Cups, Fiery Snickers, and recently even a spicy spin on the lunchbox staple Fruit By The Foot. Yet as this fad has blown up over the last couple of years, it hasn’t really crept its way into the frozen aisle. No Choco-Jalapeno Ben & Jerry’s or Chili Mango Haagen-Dazs have popped onto my radar, but Baskin Robbins made the call that September was the right time to drop their own take on a Mexican classic. Chocolate Del Fuego combines chocolate ice cream fused with hints of cinnamon and chili with chocolate chips and a spicy tres leches swirl.
The spiced chocolate base, simply put, is badass. It has a wonderfully rich chocolate flavor with perfectly balanced sweetness and a legit spicy spark that immediately jumps off the spoon. There’s a prominent but not too intense chili flavor that does a lovely dance on the finish and leaves a little tingle in the back of my throat after each spoonful. Brilliantly in harmony with the chili and chocolate is cinnamon, and the ideal Mexican hot chocolate experience is rounded out more convincingly than I thought Baskin Robbins could pull off.
I was really excited about the spicy tres leches swirl, because the notoriously wet Mexican cake can work wonders in ice cream (shout out Salt & Straw) but it isn’t used all that frequently. Unfortunately, in this scoop I got zero swirl. Towards the top of the scoop there was a tiny bit of cakey texture but inside the entire cup there was never a chunk to be found. Now, it is a swirl, and not chunks of cake, so maybe the flavor is just supposed to be amplified by the usually strong BR ribbon game, but I expected more a textural contrast than what I got, which leaves me feeling a bit emo.
The chocolate chips do exactly what they should, and although they’re small they deliver subtle crunches and extra sweetness throughout. Even after finishing the scoop I’m left with a little bit of a tingly tongue and I’m super impressed by the near perfection of the base ice cream. It’s a shame the mix-ins didn’t really come to play because this fiery frozen treat had some serious potential.
Found at: Baskin Robbins ($3.29)