Monday, February 11, 2013

READER REVIEW: Mike's Review of Good & Delish Salted Caramel Butter Pecan

A few months ago, I entered my local Walgreens to see that the store had been completely restocked and revamped. In addition to launching its own series of snacks and goodies under the private label name "Nice!", Walgreens finalized a deal to bring a series of exclusive, premium snack offerings from the brand Good & Delish, which includes a series of premium ice cream offerings. Upon seeing the brand for the first time, I picked up a pint of their Peanut Butter and Cookie Dough Duet, which fell flat with me. Not to be deterred, I picked up a flavor this week that I've been eying for quite some time: Butter Wishes and Pecan Dreams.

The pint itself consists of a salted caramel base and pieces of buttery pecans. Given my love for all things salted caramel, and my newly discovered fondness for pecans, I figured I was in for a treat. Opening the pint, I was greeted by a lightly colored base similar to that in Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Buns. As I took my first scoops, I began to realize that something strange was afoot. What caught my attention was what a unique and other-worldly consistency the base had. There are very few products that have ever made me do a double take before I even took my first bite, and it's usually a cause for concern. To even describe what I encountered would tax my descriptive abilities. The best visual representation I can give you is that it was reminiscent of freshly made taffy. The base is incredibly thick, binding together like glue, and upon scooping it stretches to completely unnatural lengths. Folks, I can assure you with virtual certainty that you've never encountered something like this before. Apart from trying it for yourselves, my inadequate description will have to suffice. "But how did it taste?", you ask? Well, I'm almost at a loss in explaining that as well. It certainly doesn't have the overwhelming, distinct flavor of Talenti's Sea Salt Caramel, nor does it have the subtle grace of Haagen Dazs' Salted Caramel Truffle. The taste of caramel is only slightly present, and is being overridden by a competing flavor that was almost akin to marshmallow. The end result is a completely unique base that deviates from its namesake, but still manages to remain palatable. Those people who are expecting the purity of the caramel to shine will be disappointed, but more liberal eaters may find themselves enjoying the uniqueness of the offering. As for me, after my initial shock wore off, I rolled with the punches and found myself appreciating it for what it was.

The element I was most looking forward to was the mix-in. After trying Haagen Dazs' Pralines and Cream, I completely changed my hardline stance that nuts make for mediocre ice cream flavors. The pieces of pecans in that pint were coated with a cinnamon-sugar shell that would make even the coldest heart melt, and I was hoping these mix-ins would be of similar quality. Unfortunately, the fears I had going into my blissful soiree with Haagen Dazs' Pralines and Cream were realized here. The pieces of pecans were unadorned bits of mundanity, lacking any flourishes. They were supple and brittle enough that they did not becomes obstacles, but they lacked that special quality that would leave me hunting for them throughout the pint. All in all, they were fresh and enjoyable, but they left me unimpressed. Without a swirl to spice things up, the lack of a coating on the pecan pieces holds the flavor back from being anything more than average.

After sampling 2 flavors of Good & Delish, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that I'm done with the brand. It's not that I found their selections to be bad, per say, but they simply do not stack up to the offerings from other makers. As their flavors all seem to lack a swirl, I think expecting anything extraordinary from other flavors in the lineup would be wishful thinking on my part. I encourage everyone to try this specific offering, just for the sake of sampling the bizarre base ice cream, but don't expect anything transcendent.

Where Mike Found It: Walgreens
Mike's Grade: B

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