Sunday, July 7, 2013

READER REVIEW: Winston's Review of Steve's Salty Caramel

My local Wholefoods Market finally started carrying Steve’s Ice Cream. Within 24 hours of being presented with this glorious news, I found myself in the checkout isle with a pint of their Salty Caramel. Per usual, the Ice Cream Informants “A” review of Salty Caramel tipped the scales in my flavor selection process.

At 280 calories per serving, this premium dessert is well within the expected energy content bracket of the premium Ice Cream ranks; in other words, I expected something absolutely incredible at 1,120 calories per pint. Unscrewing the lid (yes, it’s a screw-top) revealed an off-white ocean of caramel ice cream with a small speck of caramel peaking out through the surface. Sinking my spoon into the upper depths, directly in vicinity of the speck of peaking caramel, I hoped my first spoonful would unearth a gooey, viscous caramel swirl. Instead, I found nothing but white caramel base. I set the first spoonful aside by placing it into the lid, and continued to dig: the second and third deep spoonfuls also yielded zero caramel swirls. In a frustrated act of desperation I sunk the spoonful as deep into the pint as I possibly could, and with complementary suction noise, I removed all of the ice cream from the pint, and held it up on my spoon. A film of caramel at the base, but essentially nowhere else.

Feeling a bit cheated, I repacked the pint. At this point, though, everything started to melt, so I hesitantly began with my first bite. Holy cow. Wow. Immediately the extremely rich, creamy base flooded my palate. With a bit of investigation, a blatant salty presence assaulted my senses along with a remarkably sweet complement. The second, third, and fourth bite proved equally blissful. When I happened upon the caramel swirl, the experience transcended space and time. The best tasting caramel swirl I’ve ever had in a pint. But also the least.

This pint possesses the best caramel base I’ve tasted yet. Far richer and sweeter than Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato, richer than 2nd Street Copper Kettle Caramel, and saltier than every competitor. In addition, there is a superior element in this pint I simply can’t put into words; perhaps the ingredients are higher quality, their recipe is more in line with pleasing the senses, or something else. The best way I can describe this superior aspect is this: If Talentli and 2nd street’s caramel bases are analogous to premium blended whiskey, Steve’s Salty Caramel is analogous to a top shelf, aged single malt. The difference is remarkably apparent.

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

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