While shopping for ice cream this weekend, I found myself almost going through the motions. I've sampled all of the offerings of Ben & Jerry's and Haagen Dazs that I have access to, and picking out a flavor to re-scoop seemed more like a chore than a cause for excitement. For that reason, I decided to change things up and sample a local premium brand of ice cream called Batch, which is only sold here in the great state of Massachusetts. Many months ago, I sampled a pint of their Salted Caramel ice cream, which resonated very well with me, given that it was almost entirely indistinguishable from Haagen Dazs' Salted Caramel Truffle. The problem is that the rest of their lineup consists of fairly mundane, monochromatic offerings. Seeing as I had a slight craving for cinnamon, I decided to overcome my reservations and try their cinnamon-based offering: Cinnamon and Chocolate Bits. This is commonly talked about as the signature flavor of the brand, so I had fairly high hopes going in.
A quick glance at the ingredients list reveals that the folks at Batch pride themselves on; namely, simplicity. Similar to the Haagen Dazs Five line, these offerings only utilize the basic ingredients necessary to make ice cream. Opening the pint, both of the components of the ice cream were on display. True to its namesake, this pint includes your basic cinnamon ice cream and chocolate chips, in the absence of any swirl or other flourishes. Sometimes simplicity is best, so I held out hope that my first scoops would light up my taste buds. As I scooped the base of the ice cream, I noticed that it had a slightly peculiar texture. It's not the velvety base you would find in Haagen Dazs, but rather it was dense and fairly resistant. The taste of the base was, unfortunately, as offsetting as my initial scoops. Similar to Talenti's Caramel Cookie Crunch, the ice cream had a muddled, milky taste to it. Instead of the cinnamon flavor shining through, it tasted almost as if I was consuming a spoonful of milk from a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. While present, the cinnamon was just along for the ride in this disappointing, milky concoction.
Hoping that the mix-ins would prove to be the sole, redeeming factor in the pint, I scooped a few of them with haste. Once again, I was left confused and disappointed. These were, without a doubt, the most flavorless chocolate chips I've ever had in my lifetime. Whether I ate them along with the base or in isolation, it was almost impossible to even detect the slightest note of chocolate. It was almost remarkable, because even the cheapest chocolate tends to leave some residual taste on the palate . As I worked my way through the pint, they became more of an obstacle than anything else. The rock hard chips make you nearly come to a halt while consuming the ice cream, almost as if you were driving down a road that had a stop sign every 20 feet. Every time I tried to gain some momentum and work my way through the pint, I had to pause. Amazingly, I feel the pint would have worked best with just the base, despite how incredibly bland it was.
All in all, it's a real shame. I wanted to love this product and offer some kind words to a group of local producers, but I can't do so in good conscience. The truth is that this was a disastrous product in all phases, and a complete waste of calories. I honestly would have rather had a bowl of some low-fat, mainstream ice cream in its place. I hate to say that this experience has left me jaundiced, but the next time I'm contemplating being adventurous, I will certainly think twice. To think, I could have satisfied my cravings with a pint of Cinnamon Buns instead.
Where Mike Found It: Stop N' Shop
Mike's Grade: F