Caitlin got me ice cream for Christmas. You may have heard of Jeni's ice cream on the Food Network - that's where I had heard about it, on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, one of the few shows I'll watch on that network.
I have to say ... I consider myself good at coming up with ice cream flavors. This is the first time I've been outclassed. Some of the flavors at Jeni's are things you'd never think of - the four here aren't even the most unusual - but they work perfectly:
Cherry lambic sorbet. This tastes so much like Lindemans kriek lambic in frozen form that I'm amazed there are any other ingredients there. It's the first one I finished.
Lime cardamom yogurt. You notice two things right away: first, the massive amount of lime flavor exploding in your mouth, and second, that this is frozen yogurt that actually tastes like yogurt. Now, Pinkberry and its clones haven't made their way here yet, so I know that "frozen yogurt that actually tastes like yogurt" has been a big thing for a couple years now, but all of my previous frozen yogurt experience is still based in the 1980s paradigm of "wow I can't believe this is yogurt, good job hiding that." Sometimes you want to believe it's yogurt. Sometimes yogurt is great. This is great. I love this stuff.
Goat cheese with Cognac figs. I can't believe I never thought of goat cheese ice cream before, but there you go. If you think it's weird, think about cheesecake. Goat cheese isn't that far from cream cheese - not far enough to warrant that face you made, anyway. There's enough goat cheese in this that the texture is even slightly granular, and there's a big dose of Cognac-soaked figs in there.
Bangkok Peanut. My second-favorite. Formerly called Thai Chile, which tells you what's going on here - you've got peanut butter, toasted coconut, and chile, and it's amazing and complex. For one thing, it's a perfectly smooth ice cream - the toasted coconut was just steeped in the cream, I'm guessing. But the peanut butter and coconut still contribute a lot of texture - the mouthfeel is creamy in a different way than other ice creams. I don't know how else to explain it. If you've had ice creams with coconut milk in them, you might understand. It melts on and coats your tongue differently, I suppose. The spice level is very prominent - enough that I don't think I'd eat a whole bowl of this at once, but there's nothing wrong with making ice cream last longer.
I'm a sucker for cherry and lambic and cherry lambic, that's the only reason the cherry lambic sorbet wins out - Bangkok Peanut is the most complex, most interesting ice cream I've ever had. Sometimes "complex and interesting sounding" things disappoint - I think Vosges' candy bars, despite ingredients like black sesame and wasabi, or bacon, or curry, are actually pretty forgettable. This is one of those rare times when you hear about something interesting and it exceeds expectations.