Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: President's Choice "Pumpkin Pie" Ice Cream

Sometimes we must make reconciliations in the name of progress. For example, my experience with Loblaws (the company that owns Superstore and Extra Foods) has not necessarily been positive, and I am hesitant to give them my money. However, even I have to admit that President's Choice products, their house brand, are usually pretty freakin' awesome, and that includes their ice cream. So I put my prejudice aside, and J and I went to Superstore to see if there was anything worth reviewing. We were certainly not disappointed.

Though we will have to return to sample some other President's Choice flavours, but we decided to start off with Pumpkin Pie ice cream, which is billed as "A seasonal favourite in ice cream form: luscious pumpkin pie filling with spiced graham cracker pieces – just like a pumpkin pie." Thanksgiving is (kind of) just around the corner, after all. Starbucks is rolling out the Pumpkin Spice lattes and everything! And heck, even if it wasn't, is there really a bad time for pumpkin pie? I mean, really?
The lid, for your viewing pleasure
Given our last reviewing experience, we were feeling a bit cynical about what might be in the ingredients of such a concoction. However, we were pleased to discover that nearly everything listed sounded like....well, food. Something you can read and go "Oh yea, I know what that is, and I would certainly let it within ten feet of my digestive system." When the ingredients of the "pumpkin pie base" of the ice cream portion read "brown sugar, pumpkin purée, water, modified corn starch, modified milk ingredients, natural colour, caramel colour, salt, cinnamon," this is certainly a strong start for this contender. Because honestly, it could be a heck of a lot worse.
This picture, we feel, is not entirely accurate in its portrayal of what colour this ice cream actually is. This sort of looks like a light caramel, whereas when we took off the lid and protective seal, the initial reaction was "Eeee, really?" It was orange. Which is fine, pumpkins are orange. Pumpkin pie is orange. But this was just a very odd-looking shade of orange, like almost peach-crayon, and for a moment I felt like maybe I needed to double-check the ingredients list. This picture also doesn't really give a good idea of how many spiced graham cracker pieces there were. Because there were a lot. I mean look!
And the pilgrims gave thanks for the bountiful graham cracker harvest...
But how does it taste, you ask? How can we put this into words...

It was absolutely freakin' amazing. Man, this stuff is what that Breyers Vanilla Baked Apple wants to be when it grows up. Everything Breyers did wrong when trying to emulate pie flavour, PC has done right.

The main star of the show in this ice cream is definitely the spiced graham cracker component. These guys are a great bite size (see below for scale), and are the main conveyers of spice. Both J and I were reminded strongly of speculaas cookies, as they were sweet but not too sweet and carried some very tasty spice flavours. They were also surprisingly crunchy, rather than having absorbed a ton of liquid from the ice cream.
Graham cracker piece VS penny
As for the ice cream part, it was very creamy with just the right amount of sugar. However, it didn't really taste like pumpkin. Don't get me wrong, it was still totally awesome, but not distinctly pumpkin-y. Pumpkin is kind of a bland fruit (vegetable?) so I guess we can give them a pass on that. Although the ingredients for the pumpkin pie base that formed the overall flavour for the ice cream included things like cinnamon, we can't really say we tasted any spice in the actual ice cream. Which was fine, as we think balancing the spicy graham crackers with the cool, light flavour of the ice cream worked really well. However, if you come into this expecting the ice cream part to taste exactly like pumpkin pie filling, you will be disappointed.

OK fine, so this ice cream isn't perfect. And as far as actually tasting like pumpkin pie, it may not be spot on. But it is still totally, utterly, ridiculously delicious.

Recommend to a friend? Totally, utterly yes
Repurchase? J: Yes B: Absolutely

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