Sunday, June 16, 2013

READER REVIEW: Winston's Review of Ben & Jerry's Volun-Tiramisu (Target Exclusive)

Ben and Jerry’s Coffee ice cream base, in my opinion, is the one of best of their bases. Not only does their coffee ice cream share the basics of all their other pints: heavy cream, sugar, and milk; it also is infused with one of the most complex-flavored foods on earth--coffee. After stumbling across Volun-Tiramisu, a Target exclusive Mascarpone Coffee based ice cream, around a year ago, and loving the experience, I couldn’t resist a re-scoop and review earlier this week.

The description of this pint reads “Coffee Mascarpone Ice Cream with Cocoa Dusted Coffee Rum Lady Finger Pieces”. In other words, the base is a cheese-modified version of their coffee base designed to replicate the experience of Tiramisu. On first bite, the coffee flavor immediately dominated my palate. Incredible. Within seconds, though, the mascarpone and lady fingers’ dominated my senses and delivered a cake-like, solid texture. On second bite, the experience proved nearly identical to the first but, but the mascarpone and lady fingers texture repeated itself in a relatively undesirable fashion: the solids created a gritty, sandy and dry texture over the base. Not exactly enjoyable. This continued over and over again.

I’m not sure where the gritty texture came from. At first, I thought perhaps the pint experienced some freezer burn, and the ice created a gritty texture. No, these solids didn’t melt. Unfortunately the sandy texture didn’t emanate any specific flavoring over the incredible coffee base, so determining its source proved nearly impossible. That said, the cake itself demonstrated a relatively dry foundation, so it’s possible that cake crumbs found their way all throughout the base, the cocoa “dust” found its way throughout the base, or that the mascarpone is somehow dry and powdery when incorporated into the pint. Regardless, the grit was everywhere, it was dry, and it was far from enjoyable.

There isn’t much more to add about this pint except that it is Ben and Jerry’s incredible coffee base with some questionable mix-ins. I’m going to assume this pint is not representative of their norm, as my past experience did not disappoint. That said, this pint does closely replicate the Tiramisu dessert, a relatively powdery, gritty experience, though certainly not as extreme as this variant. Still, at a 50% failure rate in my 2 pint sample size, I’m going to suggest buyers proceed with caution, and only pursue this flavor if they are significant fans of Tiramisu and Coffee desserts.

Where Winston Found It: Target
Winston's Grade: C

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