Monday, May 27, 2013

REVIEW: Ciao Bella Key Lime Graham Gelato Squares

Ice creams based on the key lime pie concept continuously seem to come up short on this blog. Whether it’s the supreme tartness of this lime or the lack of substantial pie crust, I’m usually left with both a puckered face and a below average product. The decision to buy some of the Sea Salt Caramel Gelato Squares from Ciao Bella had been easy, but a buy one get one free offer also allowed me the opportunity to try their Key Lime Graham versions. This Italian reincarnation of the South Florida staple is made up of key lime graham gelato and graham cracker squares. The promise of real lime juice printed on the box may excite some, but all I can think of is the sourness associated with the bright green fruit.

The key lime versions of their gelato squares contain the same 250 calories that the Sea Salt Caramel variations did, however I remain skeptical that they can pack the same punch. Only after I remove the sandwich from the white wrapper do I realize that the key lime graham gelato actually has tiny bits of graham cracker blended right in. My knife cuts through the soft graham cracker crust easily, but requires some extra effort to push through the lightly shaded gelato inside. Just as the sea salt caramel base had turned out to be, the key lime graham filling is dense and takes its time before breaking down. As the gelato begins to melt in my mouth, Ciao Bella has managed to tame the tartness better than most. This is easy to eat, just sweet enough, and the graham cracker crumbs give the gelato a great texture.

The graham cracker squares surrounding the gelato have the same soft, chewy consistency as the Sea Salt Caramel chocolate squares and add another element of sweetness to combat the slight sourness of the gelato. The very nature of an ice cream sandwich allows the two cookies on either side to become incorporated into every bite; a strategy that is much needed when using a tart filling like this one. The result is a frozen dessert that encapsulates everything people love about key lime pie without become overwhelming to your taste buds. Although these aren’t quite as addictive as the Sea Salt Caramel Gelato Squares, the fact that these received only a slightly above average overall grade is impressive considering Key Lime is involved.

Where I Found It: Harris Teeter
Grade: B

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