Sunday, February 23, 2014

Steve's Strawberry Ricotta Ice Cream #31

[By Nick] If Steve’s Sunday Morning ice cream was the flavor I was most excited to try, their Strawberry Ricotta had me least excited when I first looked over the free samples they sent.

It’s well documented that while I don’t hate cheesy desserts, I don’t see the appeal or hype behind them. Also, the application of ricotta in a dessert is something my mind doesn’t grasp so easily. When I think of ricotta, I think of all of the great Italian food I grew up on. Never in my life have I heard of it used in a dessert though. I’m sure it’s just my ignorance of cheesy desserts but it feels so out of place to me. That said, after having Sunday Morning, I have all of the faith in the world in Steve’s to make this flavor combination work.

Well we’re off to a good start! When I removed the lid, I was hit with a pleasant strawberry aroma. I could’ve sworn I was having flashbacks to handpicking strawberries with my family growing up. There’s a lot of flecks of strawberries but I don’t see any signs of the ricotta. Taking my first spoonful is quite difficult. This is by far the densest of the flavors I have sampled. After letting it temper for a bit, the ice cream becomes remarkably smooth and creamy. I love how Steve’s takes the time to figure out which consistency goes with each flavor. It shows true pride in their craft. That pride transitions to the taste because this flavor puts all other strawberry ice creams to shame.

First, this is the closest you’re going to get to fresh picked strawberries in ice cream form. Once again I’m having those flashbacks because I probably ate more strawberries than I picked when I was little. These taste just like those berries! Second, the decision to use flecks of strawberries instead of whole ones is ingenious. Not only do they intensify the natural flavor but they also add a nice textual component. Whole berries tend to get icy and unpleasant to bite into. These bits do have a little iciness to them but it’s not in a bad way. It adds more of a crunch that reminds me of pie crust pieces all without hindering the flavor.

Last but not least is the ricotta swirled throughout the pint. The ricotta is hard to see because of its color but there are steaks of white interwoven into the light pink ice cream. Instead of adding cheesiness to the ice cream, it adds more of a sweet cream element. If I didn’t know it was ricotta, I might think it was a whipped cream swirl. The ricotta really ties this flavor together and brings out the best in the strawberries. If Steve’s was to add some angel food cake to the mix, there’s no telling how amazing this flavor could be. It might even become my favorite fruit flavor. As is though, it is hands down my favorite flavor incorporating strawberries. And to think, I was skeptical about trying this flavor.

Verdict?  Fresh strawberry flavor with hints of sweet cream
Buy again? Easily

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