Monday, January 26, 2015

READER REVIEW: Ryan J's Review of Maple Gelato Cardamom Ginger, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, and Sea Salted Caramel Almond

A few months ago I noticed a new brand of ice cream pop up in the freezer section of my local Earth Fare. I gave it a look, and was attracted by its unique flavors but was put off by its $10-a-pint price tag. Now recently the product has been discontinued at that store and marked off half price. I figured I might as well take the chance to try them. Maple's Organics Gelato is based in Yarmouth, Maine. They offer 22 different flavors of gelato and sorbet. Of the five or six flavors available to me, I bought a pint of Cardamom-Ginger, a pint of Chocolate-Covered Strawberry, and a pint of Sea Salt Caramel-Almond.


Before going into each flavor individually, it should be mentioned that all three of these flavors had a not-so-pleasant grainy texture to them. The label suggests to wait until it is "spoon-soft" and it was. Maybe the pints could've melted and become frozen again during transport, but it rather seemed that the sugar in the gelato had not completely dissolved in the cream. I don't know if that's a characteristic they were going for, but most people I know - myself included, prefer ice cream that is creamy. Seeing that one of the ingredients in all three is "Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals," it seems intentional.


Cardamom Ginger: This variety is a cardamom-flavored ice cream with pieces of candied ginger mixed in. In this gelato, I felt that the grainy texture was the least intrusive and allowed me to better appreciate this flavor. It had a nice mild spice and was not overrun by ginger pieces, yet it also did not skimp on them. It was just the right formula of flavor, aside from the grainy sugar texture.

Grade: B


Chocolate Covered Strawberry: This flavor was especially grainy. But I was so entertained by the rare and tasty flavor of a chocolate-covered strawberry ice cream that I could almost overlook that. As seen in the photos, this mascarpone-based ice cream contains bits and pieces of organic strawberries and dark chocolate. The bits were pleasant, but felt a bit lacking. This gelato could've used a slightly stronger strawberry flavor. It of course could've been smoother.

Grade: C


Sea Salt Caramel Almond: Of the three flavors, this was my least favorite. I was surprised to be disappointed by this one because caramel-incorporated desserts usually impress me. It was the first flavor I opened and the graininess I discovered was already a big drawback. The ingredients just didn't mesh well. The sea salt wasn't very noticeable. The nuts and caramel sauce were near the line of "bland." Upon tasting it, I immediately regretted spending the money and freezer space on the brand even though it was half-price on clearance. So with what was left of the scoop of gelato in my cup, I used it to sweeten my coffee. (Is that an appropriate thing to mention in a review like this?) That turned out to be an even bigger mistake as it just turned my coffee into a gross distortion with a questionable taste and a seafloor of sugar and nut pieces that rushes in a shocking surprise when forcing the last gulp of coffee down. But no, that's not relevant. I give this flavor a C-. Very disappointing, but I guess a "D" grade ice cream would mean having a terrifying experience.

Grade: C


Overall from my trial, I thought these gelatos were not bad but I was not impressed. I would probably not purchase any of them again - especially not at full price. I do greatly appreciate that this creamery uses local and organic ingredients in their products. But if your ice cream is costly to produce, you better do it right. You can't rely on the high-quality ingredients alone. This is not an ice cream worthy of a $10 price tag. The only ice cream maker I know that can get away with charging $10 a pint is Jeni Britton Bauer. And its evident, because while Maple's Organics Gelato has been discontinued from the Louisville Earth Fare, Jeni's Ice Cream still has its place next to where it was. I don't feel great about giving an unflattering review to a small business that supports organic practices. I'm just sending out a warning for some high-rollers ...or some not so high-rollers who have an obsession with ice cream... who are considering dropping $10 a pint on this gelato. Maybe it was just a bad batch or something went wrong during transit. You can't blame a reviewer for that.


Where Ryan J. Found It: Earth Fare

3 comments:

  1. Great, candid review. When it's bad, it's bad. My experience with this brand is in line with yours - unbalanced flavor and texture. What is it with gelato companies in Maine emphasizing "Maine" milk and cream, anyway? Evaporated cane juice crystals? Really? Marketing drivel on the label aside, it is unremarkable at best: overpriced, stabilized, batch frozen, high overrun junk. And I wish it were great, but it ain't.

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  2. Absolutely epic review! Thanks for taking the time to assess three flavors at once. Tons of useful information here. :)

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  3. I have also found their products to be grainy, so it wasn't unique to you. I actually took the Chock covered Strawberries back to the store that's how bad it was.

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