One of the highlights of my most recent trip to New Orleans back in June of 2012 was my visit to Café Du Monde. I instantly fell in love with the famous combination of café au lait and beignets available in the open-air, French market coffee stand. From that morning on, we started our days with a cup of their coffee & chicory blend, served au lait of course (mixed half and half with scalded milk). While we were still in pain from spending our nights on Bourbon Street, this cup of dark roast helped to alleviate some of the horrendous hangovers plaguing us all. Despite being an obvious tourist trap, it was also the perfect place for us to plan our daytime activities, as well as providing a priceless people-watching venue. Despite the lines wrapped around the building, we couldn’t get enough of that fried dough and kick of caffeine. New Orleans Ice Cream Company takes advantage of this nearby delicious duo by using it as the inspiration for their Café au Lait & Beignets ice cream: 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.
Although you’d expect a flavor featuring rich coffee ice cream, powdered donuts and a sugary swirl to contain a ton of calories, this super-premium option manages to come in at a reasonable 200 calories per serving. People tend to be pretty picky with how they take their coffee and way too many companies come up short when trying to brew up the perfect batch of coffee ice cream, but after peeling back the metallic lid, the first layer looks promising. As I gather a gob of just the café au lait ice cream for my first bite, the scent is immediately reminiscent of the beverage I’ve craved since leaving Louisiana. The base is creamy and mild at first glance, but finishes with the sweet flavors from the addition of scalded milk. The beautiful balance of the complex coffee is only enhanced by the super-premium consistency of the ice cream. The fluffy, yet substantial base provides the perfect foundation to feature the bits of beignet and sugary swirl to come.
The four-sided doughnuts that are traditionally drowned in powdered sugar have been diced into chunks before being thrown in with the cafe au lait ice cream. These various sized pieces are plentiful and provide a fried dough experience that finishes with plenty of sweetness. Considering the warm, fluffy feel of the authentic versions isn’t feasible in ice cream, they give these a soft and chewy consistency that’s just as impressive. The tremendous texture of the beignet pieces is only topped by the last component, the bright-white sugary swirl. Where most swirls are a thick liquid consistency, this one is stiff and imitates icing more than something you’d expect to see sitting in ice cream. The result of any bite featuring all three ingredients is the best frozen dessert experience imaginable. This is as good as it gets.
Where I Found It: Ice Cream Source