Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Island Farms "Country Cream: Black Forest Cake"

J was at Thrifty Foods the other day and managed to snag a container of Island Farms' Country Cream Black Forest Cake ice cream (one of the other "Country Cream" flavours is Peanut Brittle, which we have been trying to find without much success!). Since we both enjoy black forest cake in its non-ice cream form, this sounded like it might be worth a try.

Island Farms describes this creation as "Rich chocolate ice cream swirled with chewy brownie bits, black cherries, and cherry ribbon, all swirled with French vanilla ice cream." Sounds good enough: the chocolate cake and cherries should be well represented, with the vanilla ice cream standing in for the standard whipped cream. Let's take a look at what was inside.

Hmm. Definitely lots of chocolate ice cream, and you can see some evidence of cherry pieces (which were a nice, dark, natural colour, rather than the radioactive red colour of the maraschino cherries you'd normally find in a real black forest cake). The vanilla ice cream swirl is small (and it didn't get any more substantial further down), but we understand that chocolate is the main player here. Alrighty.

 Wait. Wait, wait wait. Wasn't there supposed to be a cherry ribbon? It's clearly there in the picture on the carton, lookin' all oozy and junk. But no matter how far down into the carton we got, no ribbon ever emerged. Just look for yourself!


So what does this sucker taste like? Well, the answer is mostly like chocolate ice cream with cherry "accents" and aftertaste. Rather than a conversation between chocolate and cherry, it's more like chocolate composed an epic poem and cherry wrote a text message. Maybe that missing cherry ribbon was too thoroughly mixed in and got completely drowned by the chocolate, and all we can taste are its feeble cries for help.

The brownie pieces, our reminder that this is black forest cake, and not just chocolate-cherry, are reasonably distributed throughout the ice cream, and they have a nice chewy texture and fudgey taste. We were impressed by the cherries. As stated before, they are black cherries, not maraschino cherries, and while they taste a bit like their bright red counterparts, they are definitely not the candied variety. They were nice and juicy and we felt like we were eating real fruit, something that cannot always be said about what you'd find in a black forest cake. The only problem is that there weren't enough of them. We found more brownie pieces than cherries, and since the cherry ribbon was already AWOL, it would have been nice to have a stronger cherry component to this ice cream.

What really confused us in this flavour was the vanilla ice cream swirl. Clearly it was there to represent the whipped cream you'd find on the real cake, but because it was small in proportion to the chocolate ice cream, it got completely lost. All we could taste was chocolate, with the vanilla not really adding anything of note. It probably would not have hurt to have done a 50/50 proportion of vanilla and chocolate: this way, the vanilla has more of a point, and we still are getting the chocolate cake element through the chocolate brownie pieces. Alternatively, some variance in texture might have made the vanilla component stand out more, like maybe substituting the vanilla ice cream with marshmallow creme or something similar. We're not sure if it would work, but as it stands, the vanilla swirl seems kind of pointless.

Overall, we thought this was a good ice cream, and a nice tribute to black forest cake. The texture is creamy - which is to be expected from Island Farms ice cream - and the flavour was nice.

Recommend to a friend? Yes, if they like chocolate-cherry or black forest cake
Repurchase? J: Yes - B: Maybe, if it was on sale

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