Customers who walk into the store are greeted by a sweet aroma filling the air. Familiar smells, along with a whirlwind of new ones, call to the customers. They are all the mysterious concoctions that mold together to form a single, undeniable message.
The Talon found the Top Five flavors of ice cream of all the 31 original flavors available at Baskin Robbins. Without being a single penny to sample all 31 flavors, the man at the counter was visibly irritated, but obliged to an extent.
The first few flavors were a real letdown. Vanilla was first, a true classic but somewhat lacking in flavor. The test continued with chocolate chip and eggnog which were both capable of dampening spirits. There was no depth in the chocolate chip flavor at all. The vanilla and chocolate tasted like separate entities, which only intensified the sweetness to an almost painful level.
Eggnog was pure torture. Uncooked eggs actually would taste better. There was a tasted of rawness, rawness smothered in sugar which made it even worse to endure. After a few more servings (strawberry tasted like stale sugar, chocolate was too sweet and banana nut fudge would have been decent if the “banana” part actually tasted like bananas), there was a blessing of green mint, which fills the mouth with a cool, refreshing sensation to wash out the multiple disappointments from earlier samples. However, it did have a rather bitter aftertaste. A few other promising ones followed: Peach was simple but surprisingly satisfying, sweet but not too sweet and actually resembled real peaches. Rocky Road was a classic that still held significant merit with its unique flavor and texture contrast: mellow sweetness of the marshmallow versus the sharpness of the chocolate, coupled with the nuts which added texture.
After a series of similar disappointments which ranged from coffee candy (essentially coffee with some added sweetness) to orange sherbet (again, would be worthy of praise if the flavor actually resembled that of oranges), there was a winner with French vanilla. Not only was it visually appealing with specks of black in a bed of white, the vanilla flavor was intensified several times. It was eye-opening, and the subtle sweetness that the delicate pods offered was very appealing.
The trial continued with two peppermint flavors, all three lemon flavors (custard, crisp and sherbet), raspberry sherbet and pistachio nut. Although the raspberry sherbet sample tasted (like many others) nothing like its parent fruit, this time it was not so bad. A good balance between sour and sweet made it the perfect continuation from pistachio, which was the epitome of staleness. After a number of odd nut varieties, including maple nut, black walnut and chocolate nut, which at least provides plenty of texture to chew on, the next was chocolate ribbon, which looked nice but only tasted like chocolate, and butterscotch ribbon, which was tooth-achingly sweet. Vanilla burnt almond was a bit better, but the vanilla flavor was drowned out by the “burnt almonds.” It ended on a very sour (but pleasant) note: Burgundy cherry, which offered one last sharp jolt of a flavor that was rare throughout the tasting.
All in all, a redeeming experience for student benefit.