Chocolate and snickerdoodle? It definitely sounds festive, but does it work? Caffe Panna’s Winter Pack is full of nostalgia-laden crowd pleasing flavor profiles that are so classic they simply make sense; and others that push the boundaries of merry coexistence, including this one. Cocoa Snick is panna and dark cocoa ice cream swirled with marshmallow and studded with snickerdoodle cookie dough.
So, does it work? Sort of. Let me start with the highlight — the marshmallow swirl. This very well may be the greatest marshmallow swirl I’ve ever graced my tastebuds with. It is deliciously sticky sweet without being cloying, and has an aggressive yet perfectly fitting vanilla flavor that hits incredibly hard. It finishes with something akin to a sugary honey taste, and thanks to the immaculate quality control I get to relive that beautiful sweet stickiness over and over again.
For the other two components there’s good news and bad news. The good news is the dark cocoa and doodle elements don’t clash, but the bad news is that’s because the base is pretty light in cocoa. It has a beautiful velvety Panna texture with ample sweet dairy notes but the “dark” component is severely lacking. For how sweet and abundant the marshmallow is I really wanted a hefty dose of bitterness in the base to compliment it, and it just isn’t there. Conceptually I can see how Caffe Panna went for a hot cocoa type of experience, and from that angle it’s fairly accurate, but off balance. It’s not bad by any means, just not strong enough to stand up to the greatest ‘mallow of all time.
The snickerdoodle cookie dough is also not quite what I anticipated. I love snickerdoodle’s, more specifically if you’ve read this blog for the last six years you know I love cinnamon, and I don’t get much cinnamon from these hefty chunks of dough. There’s a little bit of cinnamon there, but oddly enough what I taste more than anything is nutmeg, specifically a kind of eggy nutmeg note in the finish very similar to egg nog. Which isn’t a bad flavor per say, but it’s very odd in this context, especially with how intensely sweet it is as well. The dough has great cookie dough texture — nice and soft but firm with a grittiness throughout that channels raw dough’s sugar crystal crunch wonderfully.
I guess there’s a reason I’ve never paired a marshmallow-heavy cup of hot chocolate with a plate of snickerdoodle’s for Santa; he likes milk and I like coffee. In Cocoa Snick there’s tons of dough and tons of marshmallow and tons of potential, but ultimately this pint lacks the balance of bitterness or a robust cinnamon punch to make it one that will be on my Christmas list next year.
Found at: Goldbelly ($114.95 for 6 pints)