Tuesday, November 13, 2012

REVIEW: New Orleans Ice Cream Co. Toasted Coconut

Although any flavor from New Orleans Ice Cream Company stands out in a crowd, some embody the city better than others. The ones that jump out at me in particular are the ones with designs by local Crescent City artists. Along with Mint Chocolate CookieNew Orleans' hottest artist, Lionel Milton, has created this pint's extravagent exterior as well. Utilizing multiple shades of mauve and a bright yellow, as well as a caution tape looking lid, Milton has drawn a spirited second line marching around the outside of this container. Full of funk, people playing instruments and graffiti styling, the illustrations on the outside of Toasted Coconut encompasses the city of New Orleans the best of any of the unique cartons.

Self describing his style as one that, "uniquely and vibrantly demonstrates a raw urban energy with ubiquitous appeal and broad demographic charm," Milton has been sought out by a number of various corporations and movements to conceptualize their company on canvas. The piece on the outside, along with the limited edition tagline, have me excited about this eccentric flavor. Throughout my ice cream experience this far, I remain unbiased about coconut ice cream. I don't necessarily dislike coconut, but I don't seek it out either.

Flavors like Coconut Chocolate Chip from Graeter's, Coconut Fudge by Blue Bell and Coconut Macaroon from Häagen-Dazs have received scores across the board, so I'm interested how to see how this more straightforward coconut creation measures up. Toasted Coconut is already at a bit of a disadvantage since it's free of any cookie or chocolate distractions, but I've learned never to doubt the knowhow of New Orleans Ice Cream Company and continue to press onward. Taking off the Elleone designed top displays a vanilla-looking first layer that's off-white in color.

At 270 calories per serving, this is pretty high for a non chocolate or peanut butter base with no mix-ins included. And although it doesn't look too exciting, as soon as I sink my spoon in I can tell the unique texture is going to make for an interesting experience. The initial taste comes from the mild sweetness of the cream in the churning process, but eventually gives way to a mouth full of pulp bursting with coconut flavor. There's no doubt that this flavor is laced with real coconut. Completely avoiding the icy textures that has plagued other fruit flavors, the subtle sweetness of Toasted Coconut is a nice change of pace from the usual offerings stuffed with sugar.

As the heavy ice cream breaks down around your taste buds, the transition in textures from smooth and creamy to coconut flesh is incredible. Because of the top-notch textural experience, I find myself taking my time with each bite, letting the ice cream fully break down into coconut pulp. This deserves to be savored for more than a few seconds, and for me at least, seemed to get better as I pressed onwards.

The lack of mix-ins did little to hinder the overall performance. The idea of toasted coconut, like some other flavors, aren't uniquely from New Orleans, but the addition of the Elleone artwork and their ice cream knowhow makes this flavor easily identifiable. The limited edition status means you should certainly seek this one out before it's all eaten up.

Where I Found It: Ice Cream Source
Grade: B

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