Monday, February 4, 2013

REVIEW: Häagen-Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato

In the past, it's been standard practice for me to choose a sea salt caramel flavor, if available, when being introduced to a new brand or flavor lineup. When Haagen Dazs decided to unveil their new gelato flavors, I was excited to see a sea salt caramel creation included in the list. Seeing as how the Sea Salt Caramel gelato from Talenti nearly sits atop the overall rankings, this has a lot to live up to, but knowing Haagen Dazs's dedication to quality, I'm not counting them out so quickly. The sleek black pint with gold accents looks sophisticated and also includes the detailed description pictured below on the opposite side of the melting pieces of salted caramel candies.

Sitting atop a picture of Rome's colosseum, Haagen Dazs composes a well-written flavor profile, which sounds strikingly similar to their Dulce De Leche ice cream. Although I enjoy gelato on occasion, I usually prefer ice cream, so I'm interested to see if this gelato can top their standard caramel fare. With the lid removed and the seal peeled back, the first layer consists of a light beige base and even exposes some of the ribbons of sea salt caramel hiding below. After letting the hardened gelato thaw for a bit, the creamy caramel base peeled back with ease as soon as my spoon made contact.

After scooping out a portion of the initial layer, I found a large collection of the sea salted caramel sitting just below the surface, but I resisted the temptation to dig right in and grabbed some of the caramel base first. Amazingly enough, the consistency and taste is about the closest you're going to find to Talenti's version. At 270 calories, the feel is dense, thick and creamy, but the most impressive attribute comes from the smoothness. The caramel base is sweet, but because of the river of sea salted caramel swirl flowing about, is balanced out efficiently. The intense sweetness on the front end is quickly ushered away by the salty finish of the thick, stringy ribbons on the back end, creating a complex flavor profile in every bite.

The combination of base gelato and sea salted caramel swirl creates a taste with much more of an intense flavor than you'd expect from just looking at the khaki colored concoction, but without the truffles found in Sea Salt Caramel from Talenti, this can't quite overcome it's stiff competition. The velvety feel of gelato from Haagen Dazs has me ready to further explore the other options they offer.

Where I Found It: Super Wal-Mart
Grade: A

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