Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Blue Bell Ice Cream seems fixated on praline
Pecans are a favorite during the holiday.
Despite a 40% rise in the price of pecans, Blue Bell Creamery has committed wholeheartedly this fall to pecans, with a trio of flavors in stores that reveals an increasing preoccupation with all things praline.
The three flavors are: Pecan Pralines & Cream, Mexican Praline, and Spiced Pumpkin Pecan.
Looks like a serious praline fixation, but it's coincidental that all three are available simultaneously, says Blue Bell spokesman Bill Weiss.
"There is a pecan shortage, so we just made as much as we can," he says. "But there's no question that praline is a popular trend in desserts right now."
Pecan Pralines & Cream is an old Blue Bell staple and one of their first ice creams to feature praline.
"We've made that for many years," Weiss says. "It's real popular, especially in Louisiana. It's a good combination of praline and fresh pecans that go sweet-and-salty when combined with vanilla ice cream."
Spiced Pumpkin Pecan was first launched in 2010, and emerged as one of the biggest sellers introduced by Blue Bell in recent years. It sold so quickly last year that they've nearly doubled the amount they made this year.
Mexican Praline was introduced a couple of years ago, but was just re-issued in July. A few grocery stores still have it, but it's on its way out.
While all three have some pecan-and-sugary-goo component, their formulas are not identical:
- Spiced Pumpkin Pecan is a pumpkin ice cream, with sugar-coated pecans and a cinnamon-honey praline sauce.
- Pecan Pralines & Cream has vanilla ice cream with praline-coated pecans and praline swirl.
- Mexican Praline has praline ice cream with chopped pralines, roasted pecan pieces, and praline swirl.
"Mexican Praline is designed to taste just like the pralines you get at the counter at Tex-Mex restaurants -- this captures that flavor exactly," he says.
Spiced Pumpkin Pecan is part of a new campaign this year, spotlighting four holiday-themed flavors marked with special banners. In addition to the pumpkin is already-existing flavor Peppermint, plus two new flavors:
1. Banana Nut Bread, with chunks of banana nut bread, walnuts, and a cream-cheese frosting swirl mixed into banana ice cream -- like a spinoff of their various cake ice creams; and
2. Christmas Cookies with chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and sugar cookies, plus candy-cane bits and a green frosting swirl mixed into sugar-cookie ice cream.
Neither, you will notice, contains pecans.