OMG! Slumber party time, you guys!
So I was thinking we’d get together, maybe start the evening with the 3½ J’s of awesomeness: Jammies, Jock Jams, and Justin Timberlake pictures ripped from last month’s Tiger Beat! After that we can break out Häagen-Dazs’ Limited Edition Sweet Chai Latte ice cream and re-watch 2ge+ther! Quinn’s not invited. She knows why.
This is going to be absosmurfly fabtacular!
Heather, you’re in charge of scrunchies and also ranch dip for the pizza. Rizzo, we’ll be using your yearbook this time to add commentary and mustaches to the people we currently hate. Tiffany, this is your last chance with the nail polish selection. Orange and coral are not “sort of” the same thing. Veronica, you can bring the TP for Quinn’s house. And Buffy, you bring the funk.
The highlight of the evening is, totally, this chai ice cream I found. That’s really the whole reason I’m inviting you all over. That, and, I need help getting back at Quinn. Did I mention how awesomely sophisticated this ice cream tastes? It’s literally just like that stuff at Starbucks we drink to look mature without having to endure the redonkulous awfulness of coffee, except they turned it into a dessert. If we all share, that’s only like… well it’s not that many calories per person. And we’ll probably get our exercise running away from Quinn’s house afterward anyway. Everybody remember to pack your dark colored clothing but don’t wear it over here because my parents will get suspicious. â€˜Kay?
Oh, sorry, wait…
What year is it?
No, I didn’t hit my head, or at least I don’t think I did. I got in this fight with an upside-down garbage can this morning and, well, it’s all a little blurry.
The point here is that Häagen-Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream takes me way back to the days of my youth and the discovery of coffee houses amongst my group of budding intellectual friends who still worshipped boy bands.
We had a new favorite drink every week back then. Mondo always tasted like fruity plastic packaging. Orbitz was creepily chewy. But chai, that was the good stuff, an accessible beverage both imbibed and endorsed by adults, something with real staying power and just as much sugar as the crap we were already drinking.
We were Southern Illinois girls. Most of us had never experienced what Häagen-Dazs refers to as the “distinctive tastes of India”. World Market was still our idea of “exotic”. Tea for us came from little bags marked “Lipton” and was immediately sweetened to within in an inch of its life. Chai lattes felt so familiar and yet so new. The good ones bore definite black tea undertones with the spice range of a good Germanic Christmas cookie and enough milk and sugar to make one wonder if the barista didn’t accidentally dump in heavy cream. I latched onto the stuff and stuck with it through college.
Yesterday, I found myself milling around the freezer section at Ralph’s, amped up on fair trade Tanzanian Jubilee coffee, when suddenly, the ice cream in question practically leapt out at me. There it sat, perched just above my eye level and slightly off-kilter, a cozy mug of freshly blended chai emblazoned across the front. The package was strikingly soft and pretty, with a purple cap instead of the typical Häagen-Dazs red. Next to the ingredients, Häagen-Dazs helpfully included a guide to the tastes I would be experiencing as I ate their product, divided nicely into “top notes” and “finish notes” as if this were a fine wine instead of an ice cream. The absurd, transparent attempt at classiness charmed me even as it harkened back to the darker side of middle school. I had to take it home. It needed a mentor and a hug.
The “top” notes? Basically a spice list: anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. And the “finish”? “Cream and lingering spice”. Oh Häagen-Dazs, you had me there until “lingering”. Why dance around the term “aftertaste” if you’re going to leave in “lingering”?
In reality, all those flavors combine into one sweet, and yes, creamy layer that isn’t super licorice-like or pumpkin pie spicy or like anything you may be grasping at to complete your analogy, and the aftertaste is kind of just a complex back-porch sun-brewed sweet tea. It’s distinctively chai. If you like your tea with milk, provided your tea isn’t green or fermented, you will probably enjoy both chai lattes and this ice cream approximation. And if you’re drinking non-traditional teas to begin with, you’re probably adventurous enough to try this anyway, unless you’re lactose intolerant in which case I’m sorry I bothered you. You can go back to your Kombucha now.
Eating this ice cream made me realize just how deeply being an adult has managed to crush my once free spirit. I seriously forgot how utterly devoted I once was to this beverage. On winter evenings, chai thawed me out, perked me up, and made Bleak House and the political parts of Anna Karenina bearable.
Yet, somehow, I let that love fade away. Thanks to the cruelties of the real world, coffee’s insidious and unshakable grip has taken over my life. This ice cream, though, threatens to break that stranglehold and lead me back to my old standard. It’s very creamy, very indulgent, very pretty-pretty princess turned haggard queen watching romantic comedies from 1998 with a guinea pig as her only companion. It’s the kind of comfort food people on TLC bizarre-mega-weight-loss-o-rama night specials would refer to as a true friend.
If you’re able to find a pint in your area, I highly recommend diving into it, maybe even stockpiling a few just in the case they mean business with the “limited edition” label. This might finally be the ice cream we’ve all been looking for that turns regrets into happiness. Maybe. Shut up. IT COULD HAPPEN.
(Nutrition Facts – ½ cup – 250 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 10% calcium, 10% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C and 0% iron.)
Item: Häagen-Dazs Limited Edition Sweet Chai Latte
Size: 14 ounces
Purchased at: Ralph’s Fresh Fare
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Ranch dip. 2ge+ther. Revenge. Mom’s sweet tea. Package tries adorably hard to appear mature. Ice cream made of real, identifiable ingredients. German Christmas cookie spices. Creaminess. My pet guinea pig.
Cons: Junior high. Time travel tangents. Evil trash cans blocking garage doors I want to open. The cruel realities of adulthood. Contains many more calories than an iced chai latte while accomplishing the same goals. Lactose intolerant sector once again snubbed. Nightmares caused by TLC specials.