Sourcing for the freezer
When it comes to chocolate in ice cream, the options are infinite. From flavoring the base to adding inclusions, cocoa’s many shades shine. Chocolate also melds well with many other flavors when used in ice cream. And because consumers let ice cream melt in their mouth before swallowing, all of the flavors are released.
Anything and everything seems to go with chocolate when it comes to ice cream.
“What we’re seeing trending is heat with sweet chocolate,” said Bob Carlson, chief operating officer, Yuengling’s Ice Cream Corp., Orwigsburg, Pa. “This flavor doesn’t bite, but warms the tongue.”
Natasha Case, chief executive officer and co-founder, Coolhaus, Los Angeles, agreed that heat, as well as savory ingredients, are big right now in chocolate ice cream. One of the most uniquely flavored inclusions that Coolhaus has used in its hand-crafted scoop shop line is handmade caramel infused with organic fried chicken skins, sage, cayenne and black pepper.
“The result is a super sophisticated, well-rounded chocolate experience,” she said.
Nut butters beyond those made from peanuts is also trending, Ms. Case said.
“We just launched a pint called Sundae Fundae that has a ‘haus’-made chocolate hazelnut butter swirled throughout,” she said. “Natural herbs, too, make a great addition to chocolate. Our Double Chocolate Dirty Mint Chip ice cream is made with real mint leaves, which delivers more of an earthy, tea-like mint, not what you get with your typical mint chocolate chip.”
Mr. Callihan added, “We also see some exciting opportunities for collaboration and partnership when it comes to chocolate in ice cream.”
The Häagen-Dazs brand from Nestle USA, Oakland, Calif., does this with its Artisan Collection ice cream line. The line consists of six gourmet flavors made with inclusions developed in conjunction with small, but well-known confectioners around the United States. For example, Chocolate Caramelized Oat was developed with Claire Keane of Clairesquares, San Francisco. Ms. Keane has been crafting flapjacks — a traditional Irish treat of caramelized, buttery oat bars drizzled in chocolate — from her own recipe since she was 12 years old. Inspired by her Irish treats, the Häagen-Dazs brand took chocolate caramelized oat clusters and blended them in a rich caramel ice cream.
The Spiced Pecan Turtle variety is made with chocolaty covered spiced pecans from Kansas City-based Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate.
Most recently, Häagen-Dazs introduced what it calls the Destination Series. The line includes Mayan Chocolate, which is the heat of cinnamon combined with the sweet of chocolate.