REVIEW: Caffe Panna Black Cherry Chunk

Hidden amongst the layers of epic fudge-y peanut buttery decadence in Caffe Panna’s New Years Pack is a not so subtle homage to one of Ben & Jerry’s all time sellers. Black Cherry Chunk is fresh black cherry ice cream studded with amarena cherries and Callebaut chocolate chunks.

Yes, this ice cream, in recipe, is a carbon copy of Cherry Garcia, yet in execution is taken to a whole new level — I love this pint. The simplicity and derivative nature of this profile isn’t likely to turn heads, but its place within this pack is brilliant and oh-so-necessary. The base is perfectly sweet with a genuine tart cherry flavor and a surprising saltiness in the finish. It may or may not be from the use of cream cheese in the base but there’s a level of salt and richness I didn’t expect from a fruit ice cream and it’s fantastic.

The prominent shards of Callebaut chocolate are also sensational. They have a lovely bittersweet flavor and hint of fruitiness that works so well with the base it’s much more complex than meets the eye. I like Cherry Garcia and its old time-y palette more than most ice cream bloggers seem to, and this blows it out of the water. The shards are thick enough to have a satisfying snap but thin enough to finish with a delightful melt-in-your-mouth sensation. 

The literal cherry on top of this surprisingly satisfying salted fruity pint are the candied cherries. They have -zero- iciness and are coated in a wonderful syrup that makes them quite sweet in the best way. There’s a nice floral and slightly boozy note that reminds me of amaretto or almond extract coming from the cherries as well. I don’t know if that’s from the type of cherry or the base of the syrup but I love it, just like every component in this homage to the homage of the great Mr. Garcia.

Rating: 9/10

Found at: Goldbelly ($114.95 for 6 pints) 


REVIEW: Caffe Panna Funfetti Crash

Funfetti Crash was a limited release New York only pint at Caffe Panna in June that I was able to add onto my Goldbelly order via an ancient technology known as a the telephone. Yes, that is the secret to plussing up your CP order — go old school — it’s worth it. This gorgeous pint is golden Oreo infused ice cream with funfetti cookie crumble and white chocolate curls…and honestly, all it’s missing is the party hat and streamers.

I’m not sure why this ice cream is so unbelievably addictive but I find it nearly impossible to stop digging. The base has so much golden Oreo vanilla flavor and cookie crumble integrated into it it practically has the texture of cake batter — gritty and dense yet still smooth and very creamy. The ice cream clings to the spoon like poetry with the occasional strong popping crunchy eruption of nonpareil sprinkles. I love a good textural contrast and this one happens so organically I’m transfixed. 

As fantastic as the base-meets-crumble combo is, the component that really sets this experience off are the white chocolate curls. I was greeted with a bunch at the very beginning and expected the curls to calm down, but they never do, and I find layer after layer of simple yet exquisite white chocolate all the way to the bottom of the pint. The curls are sweet and creamy with a gentle crunch that compliments the cookie-forward ice cream beautifully, and it’s some of my favorite white chocolate I’ve ever had paired with ice cream. 

Funfetti Crash isn’t doing anything fancy and it doesn’t need to, it’s elegant in its simplicity and executed with perfection. For those who love birthday cake flavored desserts, white chocolate, or weirdos who think the golden Oreo is superior to the original, this is an absolute must scoop whenever it shows up again at Caffe Panna’s beloved Manhattan storefront (or in one of their coveted packs that ship via Goldbelly). 

Rating: 10/10

Found at: Caffe Panna ($20)