Tuesday, May 28, 2013

REVIEW: New Orleans Ice Cream Co. Mardi Gras Pie

Over the past year I’ve developed a pretty close-knit relationship to the people behind the scenes at New Orleans Ice Cream Company. They’ve been generous enough to send cooler after cooler of their one of a kind flavors for me to taste, photograph and review. Each of their unique offerings takes the consumer on a different adventure through some aspect of New Orleans history or culture. The first 22 flavors I tried avoided the festival most commonly associated with the Crescent City, but their latest release does just the opposite. Where some might think King Cake would be the most obvious inspiration for a Mardi Gras based ice cream, that would be way too easy for New Orleans Ice Cream Company. Instead, they utilize another Fat Tuesday tradition: Moon Pies. Unbeknownst to me, parade participants manning the floats have been throwing these marshmallow filled cookies to people lining the streets for decades. According to them, “It's Mardi Gras in your mouth with this parade favorite -- gooey marshmallow ice cream with marshmallow swirl, chocolate flakes & soft graham cracker. You'll be hollerin' Throw me one, mister!"

Being from the South, Moon Pies were readily available and something I have a certain sentimental attachment with. While staying at my grandparent’s house some weekends during summer vacations as a kid, my grandfather and I would regularly indulge in a full-sized Moon Pie and an RC Cola; a time-honored tradition he used to do as a child too. With that said, this pint of Mardi Gras Pie was something I was particularly excited about. New Orleans Ice Cream Company uses a variety of densities when making their flavors, but the 245 calories per serving ensures this one would be super-premium. After removing the bright blue lid, the first layer was made up of an all-white ice cream flecked with plenty of chocolate flakes and bits of golden graham cracker. The base required a bit of thawing time before it could be scooped out; a wait that seemed to take forever, but would be well worth it. A flavor featuring a marshmallow base isn’t something commonly seen, but after my first taste of Mardi Gras Pie, this should become a recurring theme. The slow-melting ice cream is super-sweet, sticky and full of authentic marshmallow flavor.

If you aren’t able to get your marshmallow fill from the ice cream itself, they’ve also thrown a gooey swirl to more accurately portray the filling of the chocolate-coated cookies. It’s whiter in color than the base and strings up from the pint when you pull away a bite with your spoon. The spongy texture and more intense flavoring make for the ultimate frozen marshmallow experience. To act as the classic chocolate coating, tons of thin chocolate flakes have been tossed in as well. These add a slight crunch at first, but quickly melt down to provide a rich, chocolate finish; one that meshes perfectly with the two marshmallow components. The finale of Mardi Gras Pie impersonates the cookies that sandwich the interior marshmallow filling. Although they could have been bigger, the bits of graham cracker cookie still manage to get the job done. They’re soft, chewy and contain the same flavoring you’d expect from an actual Moon Pie. The result of all four individual components wrapped up in one bite catapults this near the top of my overall rankings and only second behind Cafe au Lait & Beignets. If you're fortunate enough to live in area that has access to all the wonderful creations from New Orleans Ice Cream Company, picking up Mardi Gras Pie is a must.

Where I Found It: Ice Cream Source
Grade: A

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