I don’t want to shock anyone, so let me explain what I mean by “healthy” ice cream. I mean full-fat decadent creamy ice cream that has a fruit or possibly a nut  mentioned somewhere in the title. Something to take the edge off my guilt, but not so terrible that I won’t eat it.

woman sees sign that tells her to buy ice cream
copyrighted ice cream sign. Stop.

Both of these ice creams are new on the shelf, at least to my eagle eyes, and one is luxury, high-end, and the other is a normal store brand. I started to compare the 2 flavors here, but it turns out each has an interesting story, so this is just Part 1.

The first one I spotted was at Gelson’s, It was on sale, so that’s an important point. Coolhaus Balsamic Fig and Mascarpone Ice cream is pricy.

Coolhaus Balsamic Fig and Mascarpone Ice cream Review

I was most excited to try the Coolhaus pint, as the dairy name is new to me, and I’ve never tried any of their ice creams before. As I said, it’s a little expensive, and the only reason I bought it was because Gelson’s sometimes has a special of $5 off, if you buy $25 worth of food. That 20% off is very tempting, and I often use it!

In addition, Gelson’s has a good buyer, who keeps up with all the newest ice creams. It’s the first store in LA to stock the new creameries, and they take chances on new companies.

Packaging and design for food

I”m going to talk about design more in these reviews. You might think it doesn’t matter, but it does, very much. Does the packaging tempt you? Make you hungry? Even if you only have the food for a short time, you see it every time you open the refrigerator,  you compare it to what else is on the shelves, you handle it, etc. Your kitchen probably has things around that please you to look at, so why not inside the fridge? coolhous fig & mascarpone

Coolhaus describes its ice cream as Architecturally-inspired Gourmet Desserts. The lettering is a very fat round font, a contrast to normal architectural lettering. There are shapes and lines on the plastic carton  that might indicate an engineer drawing (they explain it’s inspired by Bauhaus.) . I took an architecture drafting class, and it has vaguely similar elements.

What’s important to me is that although the design is novel, I realized that it doesn’t turn me on to have drafting plans all over my ice cream carton. It’s not relaxing, and it doesn’t say good food to me.

But let’s get to the flavor! I could taste the figs, but not the mascarpone. 🙁 Mascarpone is not a common flavor, but I like it when I can get it. The base barely hinted at it. And last, the ice cream isn’t sweet enough. I have rarely found this in ice cream.

It’s low in cholesterol and fat (compared to other high-end ice cream), so it’s on the healthy side.  And I appreciate the creative spirit and experiment of combining these 2 flavors,  but the taste just doesn’t make it for me.

What others are saying

Whoa, Coolhaus has a book out! Coolhaus Ice Cream Book.  I guess they’ve been around longer than I thought.

Coolhaus is  local – Century City and I saw when I looked them up that they have food trucks in many cities. Hmmm. I’ve heard of food trucks, and have read of people who follow them, but that would require leaving my apartment in the middle of the day, so that’s not going to happen.

There are many reviews of their ice cream out there, and most of them are of their ice cream sandwiches. This is significant, because I have to believe that cookies wrapped around the Balsamic Fig and Mascarpone ice cream would make it better and sweeter.

NPR says:

The French electronic band Justice chose this flavor to represent them at Coachella. The elegant European flavors of this ice cream get a sugar slap from dried figs, mellowed by mascarpone.

A “sugar slap”?   Oh, NPR… 😉

Midtown Lunch (NYC) used a bad word to say how much they loved this flavor in an ice cream sandwich. Well, it’s mid-city.

One More Bite says this is his favorite flavor. Most  reviews found the ice cream on their trucks, usually in that popular ice cream sandwich.

Seems I’m outvoted, so I guess it’s a good thing I have confidence in my opinions. 🙂

Come by next week to see how the other healthy (in Donna-land) ice cream fares.

Part 2 of this scientific study of new ice creams is up. (and you can buy that ice cream anywhere, not just la-la stores. Although you better hurry, because one of the ingredients is almost gone!)

FYI, all cartoons on this site are available for purchase.