I always like to prep a pint for it's first "scooped" shot but this gelato isn't cooperating. There's a huge puddle of salted caramel in the middle and it's fighting me. Well, fine then, I'm just going to start eating.
It's funny how my particular pint looks like a core flavor at first. The good news with that since it's so soft and gooey, I can totally control how much caramel I get on each spoonful. In fact, I decide to try a few bites of just base, and it's surprisingly mellow. Maybe mellow is the wrong word, but it's a mild flavor, it's the swirl that's bringing the noise here. The base isn't hitting me as dry or salty, it's just a nice gelato/H-D hybrid.
This one definitely grows on you as you go, though a part of me misses the chocolate covered caramel truffles that always seem to pop up with a flavor like this. I really should be eating this one slower, though it's getting a nice soft texture as it sits, meaning it's just that much easier to scoop.
So the swirl is going to be the deciding factor on this one. It is a mighty and powerful swirl, one that might scare some people off. I want to say the swirl is really salty, but it deserves better than that. Pure maybe? It's like the filling from some high end candy, but the flip of that is that we are still in the ice cream/gelato world, so that caramel punch risks offending some. I say go buy it, make up your own mind, and if it's too much, just mix it with another flavor.
On Second Scoop: Confession time, the second scoop happened a little earlier then expected. I was waiting for my breakfast to cook when I realized I could use a salty hit of sweetness to wake me up. I grabbed the pint and was pleased at how well this one worked as a breakfast treat. I like my OJ kick in the morning, and this has it's own swirly kick, so it totally worked for me.
One more thing.....
Before we retire this review, I think we need to burn up one of my free Talenti coupons to do a little side by side comparison. You see, Talenti is actually the #3 premium frozen dessert company after B&J and H-D, so I think that tips us off that H-D is trying to steal back some of the market share here.
Oh yeah, I've been dreaming about this all day.
Talenti is a little darker, textures look fairly similar
I take several bites of the wonderful talenti, and then several bites of the respectable Haagen-Dazs.... yeah, I could tell them apart if I had too, but they're both good and I'm getting confused as I scoop more and more. If I had to argue, I'd say I prefer the balanced Talenti flavor as opposed to the mild H-D base and it's potent swirl. I still think the Talenti is just a little dry, but every bite tastes like candy, where H-D is a mild base with a gooey candy swirl. I know I'm dancing around with the semantics here, but they're both really well done and if you dig caramel, you'll be happy with either... well, unless you want awesome little truffles in your gelato. I just scored five in a row and am now contemplating going off to sleepy time with this awesome chocolate caramel aftertaste in my mouth.
Verdict? Good but strong
Buy Again? I'd probably go Talenti, but I could probably get H-D cheaper