One of the most upsetting feelings in the world is that of being unable to access a certain brand or flavor of ice cream that you're dying to try. For the past few months, I've found myself lamenting the fact that Jeni's ice cream is not easily accessible in my area. Last week, I finally had enough, and decided to place an order with them over the internet. The flavors I picked up were Savannah Buttermint, Double Toasted Coconut, (the fabled) Brown Butter Almond Brittle, and the subject of this review- Roxbury Road.
Roxbury Road bills itself as dense dark milk chocolate ice cream with crunchy smoked almonds, melt-in-your-mouth marshmallows, and a swirl of from scratch caramel sauce. With the mouthwatering description in mind, I opened my pint with high expectations. Immediately, I was greeted with the dense, creamy base and a few marshmallows littered across the top layer. I can say, unequivocally, that the base is the best chocolate ice cream I've ever had. It was richer than any competitor I've ever tried. It had beautiful notes of brown sugar, and was reminiscent of molten hot fudge topping that you would get at a premium creamery. I consider myself a mix-in junkie, but I would gladly pay for a pint of the base ice cream without its accompanying components. When combined with the flourishes that typify Rocky Road ice cream, the pint manages to reach even greater heights. True to the description, the fluffy and chewy marshmallow pieces are decadent, giving added character to the base ice cream. They're generously scattered throughout the pint, meaning you'll capture one with just about every other scoop. The smoked almonds are even more abundant, and are the most prevalent mix-in on the pint's roster. Every scoop yields several shards of almond pieces, adding a pleasant crunch to the mix. In terms of size, the almonds range from small slivers to whole pieces, meaning you never know what each spoonful will bring. The crunch of the almonds compliment the chewiness of the marshmallows, making this pint a textural adventure.
The caramel swirl is present, but difficult to locate within the madness. Like the cream cheese frosting swirl in Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Cake, the caramel swirl is too close in color to the base ice cream to isolate easily. That is not to say that it plays no role here, however. In contrast, the caramel swirl is perhaps the best component in the pint. The caramel here is much darker than the alternatives included in the pints of most competitors, mimicking that of 2nd Street Creamery's Copper Kettle Caramel. Like the swirl in 2nd Street's offering, the ribbons here taste like the caramel produced in Wether's premium shops (like the Karamell-Kuche in Walt Disney World). The sweetness and quality is simply unrivaled. Every time my palate noted the taste of caramel, I found myself pausing and savoring the moment.
As I stated at the outset, given the massive hype and its $12 price tag, I had impossibly high expectations for Jeni's. I'm happy to say that they were not simply exceeded, but completely shattered. I've never considered myself a chocoholic, but after savoring Roxbury Road, I'm certainly at risk of developing an addiction. If you see this in the store, you'd be a fool to pass it up.
Where Mike Found It: Jeni's Online Store
Mike's Grade: A