For Sweets Reporter’s 20th post, I didn’t want to review just any product. It had to be something extra special and extra delicious.
I decided on using Talenti’s Coffee Chocolate Chip Gelato – my current favorite ice cream, hands down. You may have noticed I just mixed terms – is this a gelato or an ice cream?
Gelato is supposed to have several major differences compared to ice cream: Less fat, higher serving temperature, more sugar, and slower churning. But this ‘gelato’ has nearly the same amount of fat, if not more, than many ice cream products. I eat it at the same temperature, and the amount of sugar is comparable to ice cream. I can’t speak on how fast it was churned, but without a clear distinction between what makes a ‘gelato’ and an ‘ice cream’, I’ll continue to group these together. After all, ‘gelato’ simply means ice cream in Italian.
Anyway, lets get to the meat of this review. I’m looking forward to writing this and I hope you are looking forward to reading it.
This is a product that I’ve eaten so many times and just learned to enjoy in sort of a zen state. Rather than thinking about the flavor too much, I simply savor the experience as time seems to slow down. So its a little difficult to give an objective description for someone who is new to this gelato, but I’ll do my best.
From far away, things don’t look too different than run-of-the-mill chocolate ice cream. But as you dig in a spoon the texture is somehow thicker and more dense.
As I mentioned in previous posts, ice creams generally taste better when partially melted into a half-liquid state, so the creaminess can be felt along the length of the tongue. This product is no different. In fact I’d say the effect is even more pronounced, and this is in line with the recommendation that gelatos are served at a higher temperature than ice cream.
Several sensations come as your tongue makes contact with this delightful desert. There is a very strong sweetness, backed by evenly balanced flavors of chocolate and coffee. There is also a rich, savory flavor that is difficult to describe in words, but many associate with butter, meat, or cheese. On a historical note, a Japanese chemist was the first to discover this taste which he called “umami” (tastiness) and attributed to it glutamate. He was also the inventor of the (in)famous food additive MSG.
Fortunately, the savory taste in this product comes from a much more natural and healthy source, eggs. I don’t know of another gelato/ice cream with the same taste, and I think this is one of the reasons I’ve fallen for this product.
Awhile back actually tried to replicate this ice cream myself, and after a few batches with successively more eggs I realized those were what was giving such a great flavor. I never did quite get the right taste (or texture, for that matter), but I plan to try again someday.
Embedded throughout the ice cream base is a storm of chocolate pieces, little treasures hiding here and there. The company has referred to them as “a ribbon of chocolate”, but its really just tiny chocolate chips, and I enjoy their sweet, chocolate flavor much more than “chocolate flakes” I’ve had in another product.
That reminds me of a funny story. This gelato used to be called simply “Cappuccino” and lacked chocolate chips, but sometime last year they changed the name to “Coffee Chocolate Chip” and added in the chips. At that time I was outraged. I even wrote an email to Talenti demanding my Cappuccino back, and went as far as saying that the chocolate chips destroyed the smooth, creamy texture and overpowered the coffee flavor.
Now it’s over a year later and I have gotten used to these things. Having said that, I wish I could taste that classic flavor one more time. Maybe I would still like it better.
Ingredients / Nutrition
Per a single 1/2 cup (102 gram) serving, there is 240 calories. I would say this is near the average for ice creams I have eaten.
As you would expect from the taste, this product has a good helping of sugar – 24 grams per serving. While this is higher than I am normally comfortable with, because of the great taste I make an exception. There are ice creams with much high sugar content, such as Argentine Caramel, made by the same company, with 33 grams per serving.
For an ice cream with such a complex flavor the ingredient count isn’t too high (13). Eggs, which give the characteristic savory taste and also enhance the thick creamy texture, are in very high proportion (they are the 3rd ingredient). I don’t know of any other ice cream or gelato for which this can be said of.
Because of the high egg content, there is a moderate amount of protein (6 grams per serving). But more than that, the cholesterol value is off the charts, providing over half (57%) of your daily amount in a single serving. Until recently this would have been regarded as extremely unhealthy, but some recent research shows that the cholesterol in eggs can actually be good for you. See link in references section below for more information.
Besides the massive amount of eggs, the ingredients are pretty typical. My pet-peeve “natural flavor” is present, and I have sent out an email to Talenti to get further detail on what is really in there.
Here is the full ingredient list:
Milk, sugar, eggs, cream, chocolate, dextrose, oil (coconut soybean), coffee, carob gum, natural flavor, soy lechitin, vanilla.
One warning for those who aren’t frequent coffee drinkers. I don’t have any specific figures on caffeine present but based on my experience I can say there is a hefty amount in this product, coming from both coffee and chocolate. Add a sugar high to the caffeine buzz and you’ll be bouncing around for quite a while.
Price and Availability
This sells for around $5 in Publix and other grocery stores, though I have seen it for nearly $8 online. It is a bit pricey but at Publix it occasionally goes on sale for one dollar off, and rarely for half price. Whole foods also carries Talenti gelatos, but I have never seen this flavor there for some reason.
A heavenly mix of sweet chocolate and coffee, enhanced by the lush, savory taste of eggs. Except for a few minor issues such as “natural flavor” and high sugar content, its practically the perfect ice cream (or gelato). As my current favorite, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys sweets, chocolate, or coffee.