I typically only eat ice cream in half-gallon containers because if it's good, a pint just isn't enough, and in my experience, ice cream makers tend to be more generous with the chunky stuff in the half-gallon containers. But I am a sucker for any flavor of Blue Bell that I've never seen before, and passing through my local Winn Dixie the other day my eye caught just such a pint labeled "Creole Cream Cheese" and that stopped me in my tracks. Add in me being a fan of most things Creole and all things cream cheese, and that this flavor is exclusive to Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and I just had to indulge!
However, when i peeled off the carton lid, my eager anticipation was initially disappointed. I like ice cream flavors loaded with "stuff", and had hoped to see Creole-colored ribbons and thick chunks of cream cheese staring back at me. Instead, the ice cream looked plain, almost like a pure vanilla. So I hoped that this was just an aberration, and my plunging spoon would reveal the ribbons and chunks lurking below the surface, but no such luck! From first scoop to last, this is a smooth, featureless ice cream.
Fortunately, my taste buds appreciated what my eyes did not, because once spoon met mouth, my palate was very pleased indeed. Blue Bell's Creole Cream Cheese is a definite pleasure. Each spoonful had a creamy texture, with a rich, almost smoky cream-cheese flavor supplemented with a tang of Creole zestiness. My container was eaten after a 20-minute ride home on an 88 degree south Louisiana day, so the ice cream at the edges was well-melted while the center was still hard. I found that I liked scoops of the former best, as the melting process somehow causes the cream cheese and creole flavorings to gel better than in the drier, harder frozen scoops, but the latter were still quite delicious. I found that the taste also builds in the mouth, with later bites tasting more tangy and cheesy than initial ones, such that it is hard to stop eating once you start.
That said, I still save my highest grades for flavors filled with chunky stuff, such as Blue Bell's awesome Dessert Trio, so Creole Cream Cheese rates just below. Nevertheless, this is a smooth, tasty ice cream that will satisfy out of the carton, and i could imagine it tasting great a la mode with a King cake during Mardi Gras season.
Where Steve Found It: Winn-Dixie (Baton Rouge, LA)
Steve's Grade: B