Monday, November 5, 2012

REVIEW: New Orleans Ice Cream Co. White Chocolate Bread Pudding

The fine folks at New Orleans Ice Cream Company have secured their spot as a top-tier manufacturer time and time again. I've enjoyed their simple, base-only flavors like Creole Cream Cheese. I've enjoyed their succulent, swirl-infused flavors like Satsuma Dreamsicle. But the offerings that include one of their top-notch base flavors, a sweet swirl and large, gaudy mix-ins, like Café au Lait & Beignets, are a step above the rest. Taking a dessert made famous by the deep South, and New Orleans in particular, they've made bread pudding the focal point of this uniquely New Orleans ice cream flavor.

A dish typically made by soaking stale bread in a sweet, liquid mixture and then baked, the ice cream version comes in the form of a custard base, chunks of white chocolate bread pudding and swirl of bourbon sauce. The top layer rivaled the beauty found in my pint of Café au Lait & Beignets. Dark, alcohol-filled stripes of sweet, bourbon sauce swirl about a light-colored custard ice cream that holds bountiful bits of bread pudding. Judging on looks alone, the potential here is undeniable. Although this selection tips the scales at 270 calories per serving, this certainly looks to be worth the nutritional setback.

I abandoned my tried and true method of tasting just the base first, and instead, opted for a spoon full of both main ingredients for my first. Sampling the sweet custard base all by itself isn't an option considering the amount of bread pudding packed inside. My first bite more than meets my expectations. Sporting a thick, sweet custard base, this ice cream is one of New Orleans Ice Cream Company's denser options. To someone with an insatiable sweet tooth like myself, this sugary base is the perfect canvas to showcase a wide array of mix-ins.

Once I wrap my head around the creamy custard, the swirl makes it's way on to my spoon. Ben & Jerry's tends to go a bit overboard on their alcoholic-infused swirls, but New Orleans Ice Cream Company adds the perfect amount to their syrupy, Bourbon swirl. For some reason I expected the white chocolate to be incorporated directly into the bread pudding pieces, but instead I soon begin running into miniature chunks of white chocolate crammed into the custard ice cream. These perfectly sized bits melt down quickly, adding another textural element to the equation. New Orleans Ice Cream Company realized that standard milk chocolate wouldn't fit the bill here, but white chocolate compliments all the other ingredients effectively.

Employing the same tactic as they have in Red Velvet Cake and Lemon Doberge Cake, New Orleans Ice Cream Company incorporates larger, more robust pieces, as well as smaller pieces to ensure every bite has at least a little taste of bread pudding. Ballooning up to the size of gumballs, some chunks were bigger than expected. The porous nature of the stale bread allows the lovely flavors of the sugary, liquid mixture to completely infiltrate the inside. This results in a burst of sweet spices, custard and white chocolate in every bite containing a piece, which happens to be nearly every bite. Despite soaking up all these flavors, this unique mix-in avoids overdoing the sweetness.

Where I Found It: Ice Cream Source
Grade: A

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