I recently moved to Columbus, OH; therefore, I decided to visit my neighborhood Jeni's Splendid Ice cream shop and investigate some of their store exclusive offerings.
Jeni's recently started incorporating "gravel", “sauces” and “accoutrements” into their dessert offerings, which are essentially fancy words for "toppings". Given that pretty much all of Jeni's flavors contain little to no solids, it sounded like a solid idea and worthy of investigation.
One of their signature sundaes, the “Emily Dickinson”, sounded quite appealing: 2 scoops of double toasted coconut ice cream topped with salty graham gravel, donut gravel, and salted Carmel sauce.
How was the dessert? Let me be clear: it's the best Jeni's dessert I've had yet, and I’ve had all of their staple flavors. There are so many flavors dominating each bite; my palate endured a constant state of confusion. Therefore, it’s very difficult to translate this experience into words. The ultra-rich coconut base and the absolutely incredible caramel constantly battled for flavor dominance. The coconut Ice Cream was far more coconutty than that of Haagen-Dazs' coconut macaroon with no tartness, and delivered strong creamy and buttery notes. That said, the dessert was by no means strongly coconutty at all. The caramel syrup plays a huge role in flavor and is probably the second or third best caramel I've ever had, seconded to Haagen-Dazs and/or 2nd Street; its ultra buttery, extremely sweet, remarkably salty and comes warm and thick.
The "gravel" adds the perfect texture contrast; both the donut pieces and the salted graham offer a brittle, crunchy component to the dessert that further confuses and arouses the palate. The salty graham are considerably salty graham crust pieces. So deliciously salty, in fact, that I'm pretty sure I could feel and taste individual salt kernels. The donuts can essentially be described as pseudo sugar cookie pieces and aren't exactly delivering strong "donut" flavor; they’re brittle, crunchy, and terrific against the caramel and coconut elements--they’re essential to the overall experience.
I you have access to Jeni's, you definitely want to try this masterpiece. Imagine this: a world renowned Ice Creamery meticulously designed the perfectly salty, creamy, and sweet dessert with ultra-premium ingredients. It's a masterpiece.
Where Winston Found It: Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
Consensus Grade: A