The same concept of single-origin that’s been applied to coffees and chocolate bars now comes to premium ice cream.
Los Angeles-based Choctal has done just that with its chocolate and vanilla ice creams. Think four different kinds of vanilla ice cream plus four different kinds of chocolate ice cream. How’s that for a surprising way to introduce variety?
The ice creams come in these flavors: Madagascar Vanilla, Mexican Vanilla, Papua New Guinea Vanilla, Indonesian Vanilla, Ghana Chocolate, Kalimantan Chocolate, Dominican Chocolate and Costa Rican Chocolate.
They are made with single-0rigin chocolate and vanilla sourced from around the world. The ice creams are made without eggs or gluten.
Recently, I had a chance to try samples of all of them. You’re probably wondering which vanilla or which chocolate one to buy, right? To be honest, the best way to really appreciate these ice creams is to buy all four varieties of chocolate or vanilla to taste them side-by-side. That way, you can really assess their differences and nuances. If that sounds like too much ice cream in the house, invite some friends over and have your own ice cream tasting. You can even do it blind like a wine tasting party.
Let’s start with the vanilla ones first. The Mexican Vanilla has a very rich, full taste with notes of cinnamon. The Indonesian Vanilla is your classic bourbon vanilla with a pleasant woodsiness and a very creamy quality. It’s the only vanilla that didn’t have noticeable vanilla bean speckles in it, either. The Madagascar Vanilla has a clean taste and a long finish. It’s the vanilla you dream about when baking. The Papua New Guinea Vanilla is the one you should really enjoy all on its own — without fudge sauce, a pie or cobbler with it. That’s because it is incredibly floral and to really appreciate it you shouldn’t mask it with anything else.
Turning to the chocolate ones, the Ghana is for anyone who’s ever loved licking a fudgsicle. The Dominican tastes like mocha with a slight astringency on the back note. The Kalimantan (sourced from Borneo) is the darkest of all the chocolate ones. As you can guess, it also boasts the most intense dark chocolate flavor of them all. My favorite might be the Costa Rican because it tastes the most complex. It’s fudgy, earthy, and with a bit of coffee and caramel going on.
You can find Choctal ice creams at Northern California Whole Foods Markets for about $8.99 a pint. You may never look at plain vanilla and chocolate ice cream the same way ever again.