Friday, December 14, 2012

REVIEW: New Orleans Ice Cream Co. Cajun Rum & Raisin

When I uncovered this pint of Cajun Rum & Raisin in the fog of the dry ice, I was excited to finally have the opportunity to sample a selection that incorporated a little kick. I've seen a few flavors from gourmet manufacturers that had poured pepper into their ice cream, but none were available locally. At first glance, it doesn't seem like the combination of a sweet frozen treat and tongue tingling cayenne would compliment one another. Sweet and salty have always played together nicely, but sweet and spicy seems like they should be reserved for Chinese takeout, not in my ice cream.

Even employing local alcohol, New Orleans Ice Cream Company takes the sweet, spicy base mixture and loads it full of plump raisins soaked in Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum. All of their other booze-infused flavors like Bananas Foster and Brandy Milk Punch far surpassed my expectations, so I welcome the thought of more alcohol to the equation. Despite containing spirits and spicy peppers, the component I'm most concerned about are the raisins. The thought of having to fight an influx of frozen raisins doesn't sound too appealing.

Lifting off the fire engine red lid revealed a manilla-colored base, full of pepper flecks and a few large raisins poking through the top. As I glance over the nutrition facts, I discover this contains only 140 calories, which is confirmed with how easily the ice cream gives away as scoop out a spoonful. With a fluffy feel I haven't had from New Orleans Ice Cream Company thus far, this base ice cream smells of sweet, spiced rum. The first thing I recognize is certainly the alcohol. Although masked with sugar and cream, this base has high amounts of the Big Easy's favorite elixir, but remains pleasant to the palate. This most interesting thing about this base comes from the slight bite at the back of your throat thanks to the dash of cayenne thrown in. As an admirer of spicy foods, this is strangely enjoyable in this particular flavor.

Despite being surrounded by ice cream for the most recent part of their life, these raisins are completely unaffected by the cool temperatures. They lack the look and feel of frozen fruit, but instead they retain the soft, chewy characteristics of their room temperature brethren. The only difference being, that these have been sufficiently soaked in spiced rum that comes spilling out once they burst. Even more intense than the base itself, these raisins will send non-rum lovers running in the other direction. But if you enjoy alcohol-inspired flavors, this is the pint for you.

Unlike other selections from this company, this isn't a flavor I sat down with. Because of the forwardness of the flavor profile, this was better enjoyed just a few bites at a time. Unable to remain normal when it comes to ice cream, even when rum is already involved, New Orleans Ice Cream Company felt it necessary to spice things up even more and in doing so has created another unique addition to their wide array of offerings.

Where I Found It: Ice Cream Source
Grade: C

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