Ice Cream Review: Private Selection Chocolate Hazelnut Mascarpone from Kroger
When faced with the question of what my favorite food is, I’ll inevitably stumble before giving three or four different answers. On some days it will be a pulled pork sandwich; others, I’m partial to say a rare tuna steak encrusted with sesame and poppy seeds. Like clockwork, I’ll eventually settle on either ice cream or some kind of fancy sounding cheese that costs more than I make in an hour on the job.
Traditionally speaking, of course, cheese and ice cream don’t mix. At least they don’t mix if your conception of cheese is the yellow stuff you put on a burger or the salty white stuff oozing oil on top of a pizza. Thankfully, Kroger isn’t trying to sell me something that out-there, although I guess if they were, I’d still try it anyway. What they are trying to sell me on is their Private Selection Line of ice cream, including the intensely Giatta-esque sounding Chocolate Hazelnut Mascarpone flavor.
A few things about me and ice cream: I’m a recent convert to the super premium ice cream world, and there was a time when I thought the prospect of eating ice cream with half a days saturated fat was tantamount to asking for a heart attack. This, unfortunately, led me to a poor understanding of what makes both ice cream flavor and texture so enjoyable (ugh, I cringe at this 2009 review). Thanks to my time spent in college, I’ve righted my understanding of ice cream, but I still refuse to conform to the ultimate manifestation of popular ice cream consumption. Ben and Jerry’s. I’ve stopped trying to explain the reasons for this, but suffice to say, I’ve been on the lookout for rich, indulgent flavors to satisfy my night-time sweet tooth.
Kroger’s Private Selection Label does the trick. The “Reserve” line of ice cream reads like a fancy European ice cream shoppe (yes, that’s shop spelled with an “e”), with flavors like Strawberry Peppercorn. As good as that sounds, my eye couldn’t help but gravitating towards the Chocolate Hazelnut Mascarpone ice cream, which boasted an impressive description.
chocolate covered whole hazelnuts folded into a tangy mascarpone ice cream and swirled chocolate
Color me impressed – very impressed. At $2.50 for a pint container, it’s cheaper than most super premium ice creams, but the flavor is outstanding. Honestly, it might be the most intensely flavored ice cream I’ve ever had. The chocolate covered Hazelnuts are a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10, while the semi-hardened pieces of chocolate that dot the container taste distinctly like the chocolate topping of an eclair. Each bite is filled with a variety of textures, and you get the distinct impression of a deep and bold vanilla flavor, with a buttery-smooth chocolate finish that slowly dissolves on your palate.
Did I mention the hazelnuts? Back to them for a second. I’ve often felt like hazelnut is underrated in desserts, but the spicy, sweet, and dare I say intensely roasted notes of the whole hazelnuts could force you to swear off almonds or pecans for the rest of your life. It’s just that good, and it plays perfectly with the unmistakable cheesecake-like element. We’re not talking that Philadelphia back-of-the box recipe though. I wouldn’t call the mascarpone necessarily “tangy,” but it definitely has a rich and unique flavor unlike any dairy product I’ve encountered in an ice cream.
My only complaint is a minor one, and that’s that it’s probably not as creamy as a standard super premium ice cream. It melts fairly quickly, and depending on your freezing method, it has a bit of a tendency to become slightly grainy. As I said, it’s a minor complaint, and given the challenges of incorporating the mix-ins and transporting said ice cream the 45 minutes from the nearest store, some textural inconsistencies are inevitable and to be expected. Yet the intensity of the flavor remains, paying homage to something that really lives up to its billing as using the “finest ingredients.” Should you ever find yourself in the mood for ice cream and live near a store which carries Kroger brand items, I cannot recommend this item enough.
Nutrition: Private Selection Chocolate Hazelnut Mascarpone from Kroger
Pros: An affordable way to get your premium ice cream kicks. Having your cheese and ice cream and eating it too. Without a doubt one of the most flavorful ice creams I've ever had. Did I mention the high quality ingredients. Amazingly rich. A symphony of tastes. Only like 50 calories per small spoonful!
Cons: Living 45 minutes from the nearest Kroger. Slightly grainy after first opening. Having to enjoy in *moderation.*