One of the difficult things about being a critic of anything — whether it be sports, food, fashion, awful fall TV shows — is that you sometimes have to say less than stellar things about people and companies. Go ahead and paint corporations or certain people as selfish, greedy, and blah blah blah, but having come from a background in writing, I’ve come to understand that most people are, well people. And after several life-changing experiences with many different kinds of people, including a Church mission trip to help rebuild homes — and peoples’ lives — destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, I’ve steadily come to believe most people are fundamentally good.
Kind of like how, despite being let down by a lackluster showing by their Mississippi Debris flavor, I’m coming around to the idea that New Orleans Ice Cream Company’s flavors are fundamentally good. Very good.
One of my major gripes with Mississippi Debris was that its many mix-ins detracted from the texture of the ultra-premium chocolate ice cream, leaving me with no coherent sense of a complete bite. It’s a problem, because for someone who doesn’t want to down more than 2-3 scoops at a time, it adds up to getting an incomplete texture and flavor experience. With an ice cream philosophy forged in the simplicity of fresh dairy exposed by the Utah State Creamery and Aggie Ice Cream, I lean towards flavors that maximize mix-ins to provide coverage for each spoonful, while at the same time appealing to a classic flavor and textural contrast which still allows the ice cream base to shine.
Mint Chocolate Cookie not only embodies this philosophy, but it does so for a great cause. You see, not only is New Orleans Ice Cream Co. working to bring great taste to ice cream lovers across the country, but they’re giving back to real people who need real help by donating a portion of their sales to the Make it Right Foundation. That Foundation is working to help rebuild the city of New Orleans from the devastation experienced during 2005′s Hurricane Katrina. And as someone who is only six months removed from visiting and working to rebuild that devastation on the Gulf Coast, I can tell firsthand that there are still a lot of people in need of any and all the help they can get.
So let’s talk about this ice cream then, and why, just seconds after my trying a spoonful it for the first time, I was ready to proclaim it the best tasting mint flavored ice cream I’ve ever had. It starts, obviously, with the cream itself. It’s smooth and sumptuous, with a texture that slowly melts in your mouth with the bright and herby essence of mint. Sweet and floral, rich and creamy, there are no off flavors or ice crystals to stand in the way of the milky fresh flavor.
If the cream is good, the mix-in is great. The use of mint cookies in place of the classic mint chocolate chips can’t be overstated in terms of creating an effective and tasty contrast. The cookies themselves are crunchier than any cookie I’ve ever encountered in ice cream, with an exterior snap and sweet-floral flavor which could have come out of those iconic green Girl Scout cookie boxes themselves. The pieces are large and dispersed with adequate frequency, ensuring each spoonfuls gets a piece of the mint cookie action. I did notice the cookies lose the distinctive snap after a few days in the freezer, but such is the cost of moderation.
If you’re a fan of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream you’re going to love this flavor. It’s base is as good as they come, while the mix in of thick and crunchy chocolate-mint cookies really sets it over the edge. Just keep out of the reach of your local neighborhood Girl Scout leader. This is one ice cream that can’t be good for their business. That’s OK. It’s good in my belly, and it’s good for the people of New Orleans. Win-win, anyone?