One of the highlights of my most recent trip to New Orleans, back in June of 2012, was my visit to Café Du Monde. Famous for café au lait and beignets, I instantly fell in love with the delicious duo. For the entirety of the week-long trip, we began our mornings with a cup of their coffee & chicory blend, served au lait of course, mixed half and half with scalded milk. Still in pain during the early part of the day from spending our nights on Bourbon Street, this cup of dark roasted coffee helped to alleviate some of the horrendous hangovers plaguing us all.
Despite being an obvious trap for tourists, it was a perfect place for us to plan our daytime activities, as well as providing a priceless people-watching venue. With lines wrapped around the building and toddlers looking like the offspring of Tony Montana, with all the powdered sugar on their faces, we couldn't get enough of that fried dough and kick of caffeine. As if Hubig's Apple Pie hadn't been brilliant enough, New Orleans Ice Cream Company created, "The Famous Taste Of The Old New Orleans French Market, With Cold Brewed Coffee & The Toasty Flavor Of Scalded Milk. Loaded With Real Beignet Pieces & Finished With A Sugary Swirl." The coffee flavors I've tried recently have varied in potency and personal appeal, but I'm looking forward to seeing what New Orleans Ice Cream Company came up with.
Too much cream. Too much sugar. Not strong enough. People are picky with their coffee and way too many companies come up short when trying to brew up the perfect batch of coffee ice cream, but this first layer looks promising. Smelling similar to the beverage I've craved since leaving Louisiana in June, the beige colored base and bits of beignets fail to foreshadow the events that were about to unfold. Dicing my way through the additional components, I gathered a large gob of just the café au lait ice cream for my first bite. I'm not sure whether or not it was my longing for the hot drink, my recent connection with Café Du Monde or the expertise of New Orleans Ice Cream Company, but this is some of the best ice cream I've ever had. Dominating the other coffee competitors, the hint of scalded milk is the perfect addition to the perfectly roasted beans. Rivaling that of Jeni's Splendid selections, this base ice cream provides the complexity and flavor-changing ability to ensure you'll be wanting a refill soon enough.
Now that we've established that the café au lait base creams the competition, on to the mix-ins. These traditional four-sided doughnuts were diced into chunks before being thrown in, all varying in size and consistency. Some were the size of donut holes, some were much smaller. Some were super-soft and chewy, some were crispy and crunchy. Regardless of which part of the beignet landed on my spoon, they were on an all-out blitzkrieg on my taste buds. I've made it well established that the brownies baked in Greyston Bakery and shoved into cartons of Ben & Jerry's are my favorite mix-in, but these are every bit as delicious.
Already blown away by the combination of beignets and café au lait ice cream, this flavor had already secured a spot among the top, but it wasn't done. Dazed and struggling to remain upright, New Orleans Ice Cream Company delivered the fatality with their sugary swirl. Remaining rigid and packing a punch of sweetness, this swirl is just overkill at this point. The scale has been maxed out. Get a nice dosage of café au lait ice cream and sugar swirl along with a big chunk of beignet, and prepare to experience something special. After a lot of deliberation and re-examining my relationship with my favorite gelato, this ice cream claims the top spot.
Where I Found It: Ice Cream Source
Other Reviews: Crazy Food Dude