As I’m sure you know, many non-Japanese companies come out with special flavors and limited editions that never seem to exist in other countries. For example, Häagen-Dazs has a whole line of ice creams called “Dolce” that I’ve never seen in the US, based on super fancy desserts. Of course, when we were in Thailand there were special regional flavors of Häagen-Dazs there as well (Passion fruit was amazing!) but this Dolce line is pretty awesome.
At first I thought they were “diet” or “light” versions, because in the States it seems like white or lighter packaging often indicates lower calories. Luckily these little white tubs hold all the richness and butterfat that you look for when reaching for the Häagen-Dazs, which seems to be primarily sold in little personal sizes here. It’s probably safer that way, because if I had a full pint of this stuff? Oh, man.
First up is the Strawberry Tiramisu. Many flavors have come out in this line already, and when I first saw this I thought they were stretching it a little. I’m not the biggest fan of Tiramisu to begin with–it’s perfectly lovely, but a little overdone, especially here in Japan.
That being said, the strawberries actually elevate this Tiramisu to a whole new level, and the high quality strawberry ice cream, combined with the strawberry puree on top, really brighten up the dish. It’s a new take on a classic, and I was surprised by how much I liked it.
Next up was the “Crème Brûlée à l’Orange.” Creme Brulee ice cream? I assumed that there would be shards of candy shell involved, but the crisp topping is actually done in a very surprising way. On top of the ice cream, there is a thin layer of white chocolate, topped with a thin, sweet, slightly bitter jelly that perfectly emulates the taste of a perfectly caramelized Creme Brulee. It’s quite ingenious, because it does give the sensory joy of cracking the top (even Amelie loved it, you know it’s fun!) with all the flavor of tradition.
The ice cream itself is definitely not traditional creme flavored, with a strong orange flavor that pairs nicely with the custardy richness of the creme and the bitterness of the caramel. Sean is not a fan, but I really enjoyed this one!
Of course, like all limited edition flavors they’ll soon be gone, but in the mean time, I’ll enjoy them while they last! What do you think, do they sound delightful, or are they stretching a little bit? Is Haagen Dazs just making stuff up with their Crème Brûlée à l’Orange and their Strawberry Tiramisu? If they are, I think it’s all right by me!