When the Ice Cream Informant informed us about a new Blue Bell offering for the holiday season, Peppermint Bark, I just knew I had to get my hands on a tub of this flavor as soon as possible! Blue Bell describes Peppermint Bark as Mint ice cream with chunks of dark chocolate and white chocolate with crushed peppermint candy. Since I am a big fan of the traditional Christmas treat this flavor is named for, and since all of these ingredients sound great on paper, I grabbed a tub as soon as it appeared in my local Target freezer.
Peeling back the lid and digging in, I was greeted by the very pleasant sight of a mint-colored ice cream sprinkled with tiny red candies. Even better, there was immediate evidence of the promised dark and white chocolate chunks, as several of these were visible poking through the surface of the base ice cream. Sometimes, this can be deceiving, an example being Blue Bell's recent White Chocolate Almond flavor, which upon first inspection appeared to be chock full of mix-ins but as I dug through the tub they turned out to be of diminishing quantity. Not so with Peppermint Bark! If anything, as you work you way down, the volume of chocolate chunks of both varieties actually seems to increase. And "chunks" is indeed the right word: These chocolate pieces are not small chips or shavings, but rather big ragged flavorful chunks. Furthermore, I was not disappointed in their flavor, as both types tasted rich with dark and white flavor, respectively.
Additionally, there is a very nice synergy between these chunks and the mint base. This base is cool, crisp, and refreshing like a good mint flavor should be, and when slightly melted, it gels deliciously with both types of chunks. Of lesser import are the peppermint candies. These candies are small shavings, not large chunks, and serve mainly as a kind of condiment, providing an aesthetically pleasing crunch to the ice cream as well as a dash of peppermint. Bite after bite, the constant barrage of chunks builds up a rich and refreshing mint-chocolate flavor in the mouth, and I found that my enjoyment of it increased the more I ate.
Overall, Peppermint Bark is a fine addition to Blue Bell's Christmas holiday offerings, holding its own with Spiced Pumpkin Pecan and is superior to Fudge Divinity, though falling short of the awesomeness that is Christmas Cookies and the greatly missed Gingerbread House. I was wavering between an A and a B when my wife insisted on poaching a large spoonful. She immediately moaned and announced "A+!", so an A it will be.
Where Steve Found It: Target
Steve's Grade: A