Tuesday, April 30, 2013

READER REVIEW: Winston's Review of Steve's BKLYN Blackout

My recent visit to New York City enabled me experience some of the Big Apple’s local ice cream options. Naturally, I decided to pick up a pint of Steve’s Ice Cream. Sifting through Steve’s options, the most appropriate flavor appropriate seemed to be their signature BKLYN Blackout. Described as “Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Stout Cake Pieces and Dark Chocolate Pudding”, few could resist such an enticing combination on any premium brand label.

The transparent container appeared to contain a black to dark grey dessert with hints of lighter brown areas. Not surprisingly, lifting the lid revealed a surface of light brown ice cream intertwined with some darker, blacker areas. The first bite tasted very similar to basic milk chocolate ice cream; not distinctly strong and certainly not as overwhelming as Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate base or as chocolate rich as Jeni’s “Dark Chocolate”. That said, it wasn’t nearly as weak or airy as Turkey Hill, Edy’s, or Breyer’s. Instead, it demonstrated superior quality, as it proved denser than these value Ice creams, yet comparatively smoother and milkier than premium bases like Haagen Dazs and Ben and Jerry’s.

The next few bites included what I presume is their pudding swirl: a thicker, icier, chocolate substance that offered a texture contrast, but little real flavor contrast. By icier, I am implying that the actual pudding did seem to be (likely) freezer burned, or perhaps the pudding didn’t freeze well. As I delved deeper towards the core of the pint, the pudding demonstrated less of an icier texture, so I’m certain it’s safe to say the pudding thawed and refroze. I take personal responsibility for the (partial) pint refreezing, as I stored it in a cooler with 4 other pints on ice for a considerable period of time. That said, the other 4 pints (different brands) showed no signs of freezer burn.

The pudding “swirl” seemed to exist mostly on the exterior of the pint; it didn’t seem to have really mixed deep into the pint. Perhaps that’s why the flavor is a “Blackout”; I think it’s possible Steve intended to “blackout” the contents of the pint with a black pudding layer towards the edge of the pint. Unfortunately, this pudding layer, closest to the contents of the cooler, didn’t seem to effectively endure hours on ice in my insulated cooler, and was mostly subject to the similar burn discussed above. That said, it still tasted pretty darn good, and when allowed some time to partially thaw and soften, proved a fantastic texture complement.

Let’s talk about the stout cake mix-ins. You can honestly forget everything we discussed in the past few paragraphs, as they are merely footnotes compared to the impact that these cake pieces have on this dessert. The stout cake pieces are remarkably moist, soft, and extremely rich pieces of alcohol-infused chocolate cake that are absolutely incredible. Their texture paralleled that of the brownies in Ben and Jerry’s “Chocolate Fudge Brownie”, yet offered a remarkably distinct liquor (not exactly stout beer) infused taste. These cake pieces don’t “take the cake”, they take the whole bakery; I wish that I could find an actual cake as delicious, rich, and moist as these little gems of heaven. Encase a stout cake piece in Steve’s smooth chocolate ice cream, and the experience is nothing short of blissful: the richness and intensity of the cake is as strong and potent as ever, while the ice cream provides a smooth, creamy complement that will rock your world.

I recommend this pint to anyone that can tolerate chocolate (which I assume is most of the readers). While the base and pudding certainly aren’t groundbreaking features, the cake inclusions imbedded in the premium chocolate base and pudding make this pint very worthy of your hard earned dollars.

Where Winston Found It: Whole Foods
Winston's Grade: A

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