We Tried Jeni's New Holiday Flavors and These Were Our Favorites
Let's face it, winter in the South isn't all cold cozy mornings and crackling fires. More often than not, it means afternoon highs in the 70s and sweating through your cashmere before noon. Dreaming of a White Christmas? Keep snoozing. That'd be a bigger miracle than 34th Street's.
While we may not have the snow-covered scenes that northerners love to brag about here in the South, we make up for it with our own set of beloved holiday traditions. Fried turkey, for one. The perfect weather for testing out new toys in the yard, for two. Then there's the gift of never, ever having to shovel snow.
But above all else, the biggest perk of spending the holidays below the Mason-Dixon Line is that we have year-round ice cream-eating weather. And thanks to the geniuses at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, we can have our ice cream and eat it too—without missing out on any of the season's favorite flavors.
Featuring five exclusive holiday flavors (White Chocolate Peppermint, Cognac with Gingerbread, Sugar Plum, Pistachio Macaron, and Mexican Hot Chocolate), Jeni's holiday collection leaves no festive flavor behind on its pursuit for holiday cheer.
Being good Southerners, we did our due diligence and tried all five so we could report back. Keep reading to see what we thought. And if we have you screaming for ice cream by the end, don't stress. You can find the flavors at your local Jeni's scoop shop, at select groceries and retailers, or by ordering a pint directly from jenis.com.
Cognac with Gingerbread
Make no mistake, cognac is the star of the show in this booze-forward flavor that tastes exactly the way sitting by a blazing fire on a cold winter's night feels. The warm butterscotch and brown sugar notes of French brandy play well with big pockets of mix-ins that bring to mind the coziest of winter memories. Crumbles of spiced gingerbread cake and ribbons of sweet dark caramel sauce add to the sophistication of this superior seasonal treat.
Though the name (and pretty pink packaging) might suggest an overpowering sickly sweet, we know better than to expect anything but a perfect balance of flavors from Jeni's. The plum wine cream base is certainly on the sweeter side, but it's well-tempered by the intense almond punch of homemade amaretti cookie crumbles. A swirl of slightly tart plum jam rounds out the flavor with some tang. Fans of white chocolate raspberry ice cream might find a new favorite in the effervescent Sugar Plum. Fruitcake take note—this is how you do fruit-flavored dessert for the holidays.
White Chocolate Peppermint
We typically don't like fence-sitters, but we'll give a pass to White Chocolate Peppermint for expertly bridging the gap between peppermint lovers and haters with one standout flavor. The peppermint-flavored ice cream is minty and refreshing, bearing absolutely zero resemblance to toothpaste—a common complaint among peppermint pessimists. The triple threat of sweet white chocolate "freckles," sea salt, and Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract complements the peppermint while leaving plenty of room for it to shine. If you've ever had a Hickory Farm meltaway mint (or any other pastel-colored, nonpareil-covered kiss), you get the gist of this flavor.
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Mexican Hot Chocolate
This flavor was a revelation—for me and for Jeni's owner Jeni Britton Bauer. It's the only chocolate ice cream I've ever enjoyed, and coincidentally it's also the flavor that inspired Jeni to quit art school and start making ice cream. Velvety milk chocolate ice cream is set aflame thanks to red-hot Vietnamese cinnamon and cayenne. The flavor effortlessly captures the deep cocoa and toasty spices of the traditional drink. Decadent but light, rich but refined—with a surprising but pleasant afterburn—this ice cream is about as close to perfect as it gets.
Momma said not to pick favorites, but the Pistachio Macaron begs to differ. This flavor wants all your attention, and it certainly got mine. Unlike other pistachio ice creams that pass off disappointing imitations of the flavor, you get the fullness of pistachio in every bite of this impeccable ice cream. The secret is in the roast. Flecks of freshly roasted ground pistachios inject toasty, salty nuttiness into every bite. A hint of honey brings Greek baklava to mind. The macaron reference is a little harder to find, but the pistachio was so spot-on that we're willing to put our imaginations to work.