Thursday, May 12, 2011
New product Wednesday-ish: Blue Bell Coconut Fudge
Another tale of unfulfilled potential.
Product: Blue Bell Coconut Fudge ice cream
Purchased at: Tom Thumb on Northwest Highway & US 75, across from NorthPark Center
Blue Bell Coconut Fudge is a new summer flavor, available in stores beginning in May. They describe it as "coconut ice cream with flakes of coconut and a rich chocolate fudge sauce swirl," and say that it's a response to the "many letters" they've received requesting a coconut ice cream. However, it's not their first coconut effort; in 2006, they did a "Nutty Coconut," which was coconut ice cream with an unappealing chopped nut gruel.
Coconut has been trending up. Coconut water -- the liquid inside a coconut when you crack it open -- is increasingly popular because of its perceived health benefits; celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna are fans.
Meanwhile, coconut milk, a staple in Thai cuisine that's also favored by vegans, is starting to supplant soy milk: Silk has branched out into almond milk and coconut milk. (Although one might say that soy milk sales are slumping because Silk has squashed most competition, and Silk soy milk sucks.)
Finally, Starbucks' latest flavor is mocha coconut, first introduced in 2002 and newly reprised due to customer requests.
Ever thrifty, Blue Bell has simultaneously introduced another new flavor with "chocolate" swirl: Homemade In The Shade -- chocolate swirl mixed into their signature Homemade Vanilla.
Maybe the chocolate swirl is better with vanilla? Because in the Coconut Fudge, it tastes cheap and unpleasant. It's not fudge-y at all. It's exactly like Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, the same sheen, the same runny texture, and seems to be made from cocoa and coconut oil.
The ice cream incorporates actual coconut flakes, though not a generous portion -- just enough to make you aware that there's coconut in there. But it doesn't taste like coconut: It has a "plain white" taste. The texture is fluffy, not creamy, which is quite the feat, given the natural creaminess of coconut milk. Unfortunately, this ice cream has no coconut milk.
And so this ends, as it almost always does with Blue Bell, with another tale of unfulfilled potential. "Coconut Fudge" brought to mind visions of a creamy ice cream, perhaps combining regular milk with coconut milk, sparked by a dose of real fudge swirl -- a frozen version of a Mounds, maybe. Instead it's a fluffy ice cream with coconut shreds and crappy chocolate syrup.