REVIEW: Talenti Gelato Layers Banana Caramel Crunch and Lemon Berry Pie

Talenti Gelato Layers Banana Caramel Crunch

Talenti Gelato Layers are one of the most eye-catching products in the ice cream aisle. In their clear, pint-sized plastic containers, we can see the components stacked on top each other as if we’re looking at a cross section of a dessert planet.

Two of the newest varieties are Banana Caramel Crunch and Lemon Berry Pie.

Banana Caramel Crunch’s layers include banana pudding gelato, pie crust pieces, dulce de leche, more banana pudding gelato, and more pie crust pieces. Lemon Berry Pie features lemon gelato, graham pieces, blueberry sauce, a second lemon gelato layer, and pie crust pieces.

There’s definitely banana flavor in the Banana Caramel Crunch, but as for caramel and crunch, it’s a bit lacking. The creamy base is excellent, and I’d be happy if Talenti offered it its own pint. It has a mild flavor and is not as sweet as a ripe banana.

Talenti Gelato Layers Banana Caramel Crunch Back

When the gelato, dulce de leche, and pie crust are in one spoonful, it tastes like…bananas. To be more specific, the caramel seems to add something to the gelato’s flavor to make the two taste like something that reminds me of a banana that’s still a little green. As for the “crunch” part, the pie crust pieces are as soft and silent as the rest of the dessert. So feel free to eat this next to your sleeping loved one.

Talenti Gelato Layers Lemon Berry Pie

As I was eating the Lemon Berry Pie one, I kept thinking it tastes like a dessert other than pie — lemon cheesecake. Although, isn’t a cheesecake technically more a pie than a cake? Ugh. No time to sit and ponder about that because this review won’t write itself.

Talenti Gelato Layers Lemon Berry Pie Back

Anyhoo, it seems as if the tanginess from the blueberry sauce and the lemon gelato create a tang that’s similar to cheesecake. The graham cookies and pie crust don’t enhance the pint’s flavor, and they also don’t provide contrasting textures with the other ingredients.

Talenti Gelato Layers Lemon Berry Pie Sauce

Look, I ate both easily without any regard for weight gain or guilt because they’re tasty. But I felt the gelato’s flavor dominated both pints, and I wish the dulce de leche and blueberry sauce stood out more. I guess it also doesn’t help that there are two base layers in each pint and a thin amount of sauce. Also, I would’ve liked something that provided a crunch. But if you love banana or lemon, which aren’t too common in the ice cream aisle, it’s worth a purchase.

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples from Talenti/Unilever. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Received from Talenti (sold wherever Talenti products are sold)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Banana Caramel Crunch), 6 out of 10 (Lemon Berry Pie)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) Banana Caramel Crunch – 280 calories, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Lemon Berry Pie – 250 calories, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Talenti Strawberry Hibiscus Dairy-Free Sorbetto

Talenti Strawberry Hibiscus Dairy Free Sorbetto

I’ve eaten a hibiscus flower before, but I can’t tell you what it tastes like. My hibiscus rosa-sinensis taste test happened in the 80s, when I was really young, naive, and could be dared to put almost anything in my mouth for the high price of one dollar.

While I can’t tell you what the flower is supposed to taste like, the internet can, and it says it has a tart cranberry-like flavor. So if Ocean Spray ever comes out with a cran-hibiscus drink, be skeptical of it.

Talenti’s Strawberry Hibiscus Dairy-Free Sorbetto features, according to its jar, “Sweet strawberries and real hibiscus flowers are blended for a perfectly sweet and tart dairy-free sorbetto with a hibiscus swirl.”

Talenti Strawberry Hibiscus Dairy Free Sorbetto Topless

Strawberry is the second ingredient listed, behind water, but the sorbetto also contains hibiscus powder AND hibiscus flower. However, it smells and tastes like strawberry is the second ingredient listed.

When I put my nose over the top of the pint, the aroma that wafts out is similar to what comes out whenever I open the bag of Kirkland Signature Frozen Strawberries in my freezer to make smoothies. All I taste with every spoonful of the sorbetto is something similar to a tart strawberry jam, but much lighter. I don’t get that cranberry-like flavor the internet tell me I’m supposed to taste. Even when I taste just the dark colored hibiscus swirl, all I get is strawberry with a bit more tartness than the rest of the pint.

Talenti Strawberry Hibiscus Dairy Free Sorbetto Top 2

Since there’s no dairy, the texture isn’t creamy or dense, like gelato or ice cream. But it scoops easily, and the lack of dairy helps make it a light dessert that your belly won’t regret eating after a big meal. The pint also contains something that initially has a texture of seeds, but then melt away.

Although Talenti’s Strawberry Hibiscus Dairy-Free Sorbetto tastes a bit one-note to me, its fruity flavor was enjoyable enough that I don’t need a dollar to encourage me to put it in my mouth.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. Doing so did not influence my review in any way.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Received from Talenti
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 150 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 34 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie and Salted Caramel Truffle

Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie and Salted Caramel Truffle

Summer is right around the corner, and the new Talenti Gelato Layers is the perfect sweet treat to celebrate after a brutal winter – goodbye polar vortex! – and a moody spring that has included snow.

This innovation is basically a sundae with the visual appeal of a parfait. Each pint has five layers consisting of signature gelato, toppings, and sauces. It’s all perfectly packaged in the usual transparent, recyclable plastic jar.

The line launched with seven different layer combinations, which made it incredibly hard to pick. So, I picked my favorite gelato bases and ended up with Mint Fudge Cookie (mint gelato, cookie crumbs, fudge sauce, mint gelato, chocolate cookies) and Salted Caramel Truffle (sea salt caramel gelato, chocolate cookies, dulce de leche, vanilla gelato, caramel truffle).

Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie and Salted Caramel Truffle Top Layer

I started with the Mint Fudge Cookie with no rhyme or reason! Because I was worried it would be difficult to get through to all the layers, I began with a meek spoonful of the gelato. It’s surprising how fluffy and light it is; it almost didn’t seem gelato-like! In general, Talenti isn’t one of those hard-to-scoop frozen treats, but I didn’t expect it to be like butter. The flavor of the gelato itself was the Mediterranean Mint I knew and trusted.

Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie

It was just as easy to take my spoon and dig all the way down to get all the layers. Amazing! My only mistake was that I didn’t use a long spoon.

Talenti Gelato Layers Mint Fudge Cookie Spoon

The mint was the perfect backdrop for all the layered goodness. What stood out to me was the delicious, rich fudge. I love me some good hot fudge, and this did not disappoint. I was also amazed that it wasn’t frozen solid. Magic. I enjoyed the added textural elements from the chocolate cookies and crumbs as well. Admittedly, they got a little soggy, but then it became almost like a chocolate cake texture which was I was not mad about.

Talenti Gelato Layers Salted Caramel Truffle 2

When starting on the Salted Caramel Truffle, I grabbed a larger/longer spoon so I could get more of the good good. I did notice that there was a bit of freezer burn around the bottom-most layer, which was the caramel truffles.

Talenti Gelato Layers Salted Caramel Truffle Spoon

This flavor was sweeter than the mint one, but it’s a caramel lover’s dream come true. It’s like caramel on caramel with the gelato and dulce de leche. I enjoy caramel, but the sweetness was a bit too much for me. Also, I only picked up on the “salted” part of the salted caramel from the truffles below. Although, like the mint version, I enjoyed the texture, particularly from the cubed-shaped chocolate truffles.

All in all, I’m kind of angry because this is SO good. The texture of everything is perfect, which I would think is incredibly difficult to mass produce and keep right on shelves and in freezers at home! But, Talenti has done it. It’s captured lightning in a bottle with the kind of deliciousness that gives me the excuse to eat the whole pint because I don’t want to ruin it by dumping it in a bowl.

Purchased Price: $5.29 each
Size: 1 Pint
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Mint Fudge Cookie)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Salted Caramel Truffle)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) Salted Caramel Truffle 320 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 34 total grams of sugar, 26 grams added sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Mint Fudge Cookie – 310 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 33 total grams of sugars, 28 grams added sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Talenti Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gelato

Talenti Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gelato

Few people recognize cookie dough’s versatility.

Your kids ate all the Play-Doh? Give those rascals some cookie dough. Out of plumber’s putty? Use a bit of cookie dough to fix that leaky faucet. Need a quick stuffing for your Thanksgiving turkey? Shove some cookie dough up its poultry-hole and call it a day.

Maybe none of those are good ideas. Maybe Google Image searching “poultry-hole” wasn’t a good idea either. Maybe I’m unsure how to transition from talking about turkey orifices to gelato, so I’m just going to pretend I never wrote these first two paragraphs and start over. Were you expecting Pulitzer Prize writing here? Because I’m pretty sure any writer who uses the word “poultry-hole” more than twice is instantly disqualified, and I just hit number three.

One of seven new Talenti flavors for 2015, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough seduced me with visions of a cookie dough gelato base speckled with plenty of chocolate chips. Due to the container’s lack of a description aside from the flavor’s title and ingredients list, this is what I was expecting.

I was wrong.

Talenti Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gelato 2

Instead, this flavor features a vanilla bean gelato with swirls of dark butter fudge, mixed with bits of chocolate chip cookie dough.

Sugary sweet in scent, the vanilla gelato base possesses the strong vanilla flavor and subtle bitterness of a vanilla extract — different, but not undesirable. The fudge swirls’ sharp cocoa flavor alludes to watered-down chocolate syrup, but winds up choked by the potent vanilla gelato.

Talenti Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gelato 3

Worst of all, the cookie dough bits are the Waldo of this flavor; I’m looking, but I just can’t seem to find ‘em. After consuming more than half the pint, I had encountered around five chunks of cookie dough. Their chocolatey, brown sugar flavor suggests a spot-on rendition of cookie dough, but what’s the point if they’re barely present?

At least I can say one good thing about this gelato: according to the Talenti website, the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is both kosher and vegetarian. Rest assured, people. You will find no meats inside this pint. You won’t find very much cookie dough either. Hrmph.

Talenti Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gelato 4

For a flavor titled “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough,” the cookie dough really seems to take a backseat here. This flavor needs at least twice as much cookie dough to live up to its name. Frankly, Talenti’s new Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough gelato feels more like a pint of glorified vanilla ice cream.

This is one dessert I’ll be keeping out of my poultry-hole, I mean, mouth-hole.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 210 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein..)

Item: Talenti Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Gelato
Purchased Price: $4.69
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Gelato flavor is similar to vanilla extract. Kosher and vegetarian. No meat inside here.
Cons: Fudge swirls are choked by vanilla flavor. Very few cookie dough bits. Excessive use of poultry-hole.

REVIEW: Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato

Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato

In a world where everything flavored pumpkin, or pumpkin spice, is disbursed to the masses before the first autumn leaf even has a fighting chance to touch the ground, I figured finding Talenti’s Pumpkin Pie Gelato would be a piece of cake…ha-ha…get it? Cake? Instead of ……oh, nevermind.

I started browsing for this fairytale gelato flavor mid-to-late September. To my surprise, it was nowhere to be found.* But how could this be? Every other item you pick up in any grocery store during pre-fall is conjoined with some sort of natural or artificial pumpkin flavor. Pumpkin spice yogurt? Aisle 3. Pumpkin spice gum? You got it. Pumpkin pie vodka? You betcha (and totally trying it). Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato? No dice.

C’mon, Talenti, step up your game! There was even a Durex Pumpkin Spice Condom hoax before your pumpkin pie flavor hit the shelves. To say I was a little frustrated is an understatement.

I can honestly say I’ve never, in my life, searched for or used the word “gelato” as much as I did during two weeks when I was looking for it. I became a gelato crackhead, calling stores day and night begging and pleading that they go check their frozen food section for this mythical product. Some were pleasant, some scoffed at me, replying with “It’s obviously seasonal – it won’t be out for weeks.”

“Are you shitting me? There are pumpkin pickles** on Aisle 12!”

Pfft. And I’m the crazy one.

Fast forward to now. There I am, strolling through Safeway with some Bausch & Lomb Eyewash in my hand, when suddenly, the gates of heaven opened and a light shined down over a cold case end cap. There it was – Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato – and there I was, staring back with a look of disbelief. I finally found you.

They say when you stop looking for love, it will find you.

The same can be said for gelato.

Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato topview

If I were solely to base my opinion of this product just by appearance, by the illuminated orange of your traditional pumpkin pie compared to the appearance of the dull beige color of the gelato, I’d say, “forget it, save your money, move on and nothing to see here people.” But that’s not what we’re all here for, now is it? Thankfully so.

Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato spoonful

My first spoonful in I was completely overwhelmed with “This is gooooooodddddd!” (I’m not kidding – I said it that exact way to my roommate as I shoveled it into my face.)

The prominent flavor that really smacks me in the face is a heavy hand of gingerbread. Which throws me off a bit. I have never really thought of a traditional pumpkin pie having a gingerbread flavor. I attribute this flavor to the cinnamon and nutmeg. I am not mad about it.

One thing that really surprised me were the chunks of “crust” folded into the gelato. PIE CRUST?!

Well played, Talenti, Well played.

I can’t think of anything more that I enjoy about a piece of pumpkin pie, than the crust. The pieces have a chewy texture with a nice buttery undertone, which compliment the pumpkin spices perfectly. I don’t know exactly what the pieces are made of – probably flour and brown sugar – but they definitely add to the overall experience of a “pumpkin pie” flavor.

Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato spoonful_close

Once my childlike excitement for pie crust pieces subsided, and after a few more spoonfuls, the alleged star of the show finally arrived. Welcome to my tastes buds, Pumpkin, you delicious little bastard, you.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are pumpkin undertones to this product but by no means does it taste solely like pumpkin. The spices overwhelm the pumpkin, but it’s there if you dig really deep inside your senses. I mean, it IS a “pumpkin pie” flavor, not a “pumpkin” flavor.

And that’s exactly what you get. It tastes eerily similar to pumpkin pie filling. If you’re one to enjoy a nice slice of pumpkin pie after your holiday feast, you will undoubtedly love this product. If I could take a pint of this and dump it out into a store bought crust while drowning it in Reddi-wip without the fear of being judged, I’d jump on that wagon in a heart beat.

I secretly hope someone puts me in charge of bringing a pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving this year because I can’t bake a damn and my family won’t know to be specific and say, “Not the gelato variety.”

Taylor – 1
Family – 0

*I live in Oregon – nobody ever thinks to include Oregon in things. We’re like the last kid picked for a dodgeball game.

**Pumpkin pickles are not a thing. That would be disgusting. Dramatic effect FTW.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 220 calories, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato
Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Delicious. Tastes like pumpkin pie filling. PIE CRUST PIECES!!!! Pumpkin pie spices give it a gingerbread taste. Pulling a fast one over my family members.
Cons: Searching for two weeks to find it. Being a gelato crackhead for two weeks. Actual pumpkin flavor isn’t prominent. Pumpkin pie spices give it too much of a gingerbread taste that I don’t generally feel relates to a traditional pumpkin pie. Not being able to bake my own pumpkin pie.