REVIEW: Talenti “Crafted with Less Sugar” Vanilla Cinnamon and Mint Cookie

It was bound to happen at some time. After the huge craze of “diet” ice cream’s expanded from Halo Top and Enlightend to Breyer’s, Three Twins, and even Ben & Jerry’s, Talenti have joined the party with their own spin on reduced calorie gelato. Rather than boosting up protein content like Halo or whipping some extra air during churning like Dreyer’s and B&J, Talenti have opted to go the reduced sugar route by way of soluble corn fiber, sugar alcohol, and monk fruit extract. Sounds kind of like Talenti are taking a page from Quest’s book, and that makes me a little nervous. The naturally lower fat gelato gets an even greater fat reduction and significant caloric decrease with this new formula, but how will the texture and flavor fare?

Vanilla Cinnamon:

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REVIEW: Dreyer’s-Edy’s Limited Edition Birthday Cake

It’s unclear exactly what’s going on with Dreyer’s-Edy’s ice cream right now. There used to be a clear distinction between the Slow Churned and Grand lines, but right now it seems as though all the new products are presented as a regular ice cream but utilize light bases at their core. Whatever the case may be, with grocery ice cream season in full swing the company is rolling out seemingly endless amounts of limited edition flavors, including the plainly named re-release Birthday Cake, which combines yellow cake light ice cream with a frosting swirl and multi-colored sprinkles.

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REVIEW: Dreyer’s-Edy’s Triple Peanut Butter

“You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”.

A phrase that echoes through my mind every time I crush another jar of unassuming, innocent, beautiful peanut butter. That last, slightly too chunky, extra salty spoonful that lines the bottom of the glass or plastic is always so bittersweet, and if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s stock up on the things you can’t live without. Sometimes that means buying two jars of peanut butter at a time so you never run out, and sometimes it means seeking out products that only utilize the best flavors mother nature provides. Living up to this mantra, Dreyer’s are kicking off 2018 with a new ice cream that stacks goodness on top of goodness with a little extra goodness in Triple Peanut Butter, which combines peanut butter light ice cream with a peanut butter ribbon and mini chocolate peanut butter cups.

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REVIEW: Halo Top’s Pumpkin Pie

A trend in the food world begins to transcend trendiness and become solidified when it grows beyond a core set of styles, flavors, or offerings, and transitions into limited time seasonal versions of their product. Unleashing smaller scale season-based varieties displays confidence in a brand and a trust that consumers will flock to something that may not have as much mass appeal as a standard. Welcome to the upper-echelon of the grocery ice cream game, Halo Top. While many of the company’s most recent flavors have yet to make it to the Bay Area, Halo’s first limited time flavor popped up at Target just to keep my protein hungry basic tastebuds entertained, with Pumpkin Pie.

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As is the case with all high protein light ice cream’s, this stuff freezes hard and needs a good amount of time to temper on the counter, but this one tempered faster than almost every other Halo flavor I’ve had (nearly all of them). Once the ice cream gets appropriately soft it is very impressive how smooth, creamy, and “real” ice cream-like it is. In fact, the texture is so on point that I would have never guessed it to be a light ice cream, as the essence is much truer to the real deal than many gummy slow churned products.

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The flavor is equally impressive, with a very yammy pumpkin-forward profile that tastes closer to actual pumpkin pie filling than most pumpkin ice cream’s on the market. The sweetness is also perfectly on point. It’s sharp and sugary but not so much that it washes away the authentic pumpkin flavor, and is accented nicely by soft hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. As a whole the taste is more of a vegetal vanilla than it is spicy, but there’s enough spice there to keep it interesting and elevate the natural notes of the squash.

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Mix-in-wise this is also one of Halo’s more legit releases, with an impressively ample amount of pie crust throughout the entire pint. The pieces are small but aplenty, with a soft, bready, slightly buttery flavor that 100% register pie crust. The most intriguing part of Halo’s execution here is that nearly every bite tastes like a good forkful of pumpkin pie being equally represented by pumpkin, mellow spice, crust, and creamy vanilla undertones to mimic the role of whipped cream.

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This flavor is not only good for Halo Top or light protein ice creams, but for all pumpkin pie ice creams in general. No, it doesn’t have the rich fatty depth of Graeter’s or Ben & Jerrys, or the big spicy pop of Talenti, but it has an incredibly accurate and delicious pumpkin flavor that nails the nostalgic taste of diggin’ in on Thanksgiving day, and I enjoyed every bite.

Rating: 9/10
Found at: Target ($5.99)
Quick Nutrition: 1/2 cup (70g) – 90 cal – 3g fat – 1g sat fat – 40mg cholesterol – 130mg sodium – 3g fiber – 7g sugar – 5g sugar alcohol – 5g protein

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REVIEW: Dreyers Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream

Call me basic, call me a white girl, call me predicable, call me whatever – I love pumpkin spice. Not just pumpkin spice, but all things with that lovely spicy-sweet balance that make the autumn birds sing. As big of a fan of the profile I am, I’m not the biggest enthusiast of the crowning jewel of Basic B University – the pumpkin spice latte. While I definitely enjoy having one per year on a crisp fall day over an engaging game of chess, once I have that one I’m good to go, and go back to being a straight-to-the-face coffee purist.

The pumpkin spice backlash can be traced back to the explosion of the PSL in the early 2000’s, with a popularity that exceeded expectations and shook creators of seasonal products to their very core. After a huge wave of companies copying Starbucks’ success, the flavors crept their way into a wash of products that made little to no sense, and thus, the August through October consumer pumpkin onslaught was born. Apparently ten or so years late to the party, Dreyers rolled out a new cafe-inspired quart for 2017 with Pumpkin Spice Latte, which combines pumpkin spice and coffee flavored light ice creams.

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The flavor of the pumpkin ice cream is actually pretty good. It’s mellow and sweet, driven by authentic pumpkin and sparkly ginger notes with dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg – all of which are listed in the actual ingredients. There are smooth vanilla undertones to the profile that channel the creamy milkiness of a latte, but unfortunately the other part of the latte, the espresso, is strongly represented as well, and doesn’t quite work for me.

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The coffee ice cream has a genuine coffee presence that is impressive but teeters too close to bitter for my taste in a sweet treat, throwing off the lovely balance made by the pumpkin. The darker coffee ice cream is much more prominent in the container and as soon as it comes in contact with the pumpkin either washes it out entirely or creates an unpleasant spicy-bitter combination that is simply not that enjoyable. It needs some kind of caramel swirl or other creamy-sweet component to marry the two flavors together and work more seamlessly, but as it is presented it feels more like the two bases are fighting each other with no cohesion.

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Texturally this ice cream is the par the course for lower quality low fat varieties, with that odd gummy sensation that requires a bit more chewing than what I want from a scoop with no mix-ins. It’s not the most offensively gummy ice cream I’ve had, but it’s definitely miles away from super premium that’s more airy than it is dense, and at under 3 grams of fat per serving you can only hope for so much. Even though it isn’t listed as such, the macros and overall vibe of the product are much more in line with the Slow Churned variety than Dreyers Grand. 

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While the texture isn’t sexy smooth and the zero mix-ins makes it a little boring, the real issue with this flavor is in the execution of balancing all the complex flavors of a pumpkin spice latte. When the legions of teens flock to Starbucks for their PSL’s they aren’t looking for a drink that actually tastes like coffee, and this frozen iteration on the warm drink brings coffee too much into the foreground. Sweetness, creaminess, and a hint of spiciness should all be driving the profile of the coveted scarf-laden beverage, and instead the strong-armed character of bitter roasted beans comes out on top, and makes this seasonal release from Dreyers a bit of a miss.

Rating: 5.5/10
Found at: Target ($3.99)

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