Our Night as Häagen Dazs Scientists

Mimi ON Oct 27, 2011 AT 9:05 am

Group of Taste Testers

Group of Taste Testers

Last week we were invited to attend a Häagen Dazs masterclass to learn about the world-famous brand and to sample as many different ice creams as we could possibly digest.

Location: Heaven.

Officially? An amazing penthouse apartment in trendy Shoreditch where we were greeted with champagne and the most scrumptious canapes we have ever had. Pacing ourselves was crucial, however, because there was a whole lot of ice cream tasting ahead.

Once we were given our official Häagen Dazs lab coats—after all, this was serious business we were doing—we took our places around a long table. A representative from Häagen Dazs took us through the brand’s fascinating history, describing how New York native, Reuben Mattus, established the company in 1960 with only three ice cream flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and coffee), and how he turned the super-premium ice cream brand into a global sensation that now reaches over 50 countries.

After we learned a bit about the company, we were asked to sample some spices, but were told that we had to hold our noses while we ate them. Obviously we couldn’t taste anything at first, but once we unplugged our noses we got an intense rush of delicious cinammon spice. This little taste test was meant to show us just how much we rely on our noses for taste, and how important the nose is when you’re trying to create a quality ice cream. We went on to try the brand’s delicious and creamy caramel, and were given different nuts to try while blindfolded, in order to determine which nut is the one Häagen Dazs uses in their divine “Chocolate, Pralines, and Caramel” ice cream. This was loads of fun, but we have to admit: we couldn’t wait to get our hands on some ice cream!

Table of Ingredients

Table of Ingredients

Our wishes were granted as we sampled over 14 different Häagen Dazs flavours over the course of the evening. Honestly, we cannot even tell you our favourite because every single flavour was out-of-this-world good. One of the coolest things about the taste testing was the fact that we were able to try Häagen Dazs flavours that aren’t even available in the UK. For example, we were given a sample of “Green Tea,” which is sold in Asia, and we swear that it was the real thing in frozen form. Actually, we were told it was the real thing. Häagen Dazs prides itself on using only the freshest and realest ingredients. This means no artificial flavouring and no additives. This is why the “Green Tea” flavour tasted exactly like green tea—because they used green tea and not much else in the creation process. This goes for all Häagen Dazs products, which are usually made up of no more than five ingredients, so that consumers can taste the real thing rather than some artificial copy of what other ice cream makers think the real ingredients taste like.

"Sweet Berry Zing," our own concoction - a bit melty

"Sweet Berry Zing," our own concoction (if a bit melted!)

We also got to try “Macadamia Nut Brittle” from France, and “Strawberry Cheesecake,” which is the number one seller in the UK. The Häagen Dazs representative explained to us that different countries have different tastes when it comes to the flavours of ice cream they like, and that is why some flavours are only available in some countries and not in others. One flavour that is available everywhere is “Vanilla Caramel Brownie.” We were amazed to hear that it took the French-based company over 4 years of scouring more than 20 French locations to find the perfect brownie recipe, and we can tell you that Häagen Dazs did not disappoint. This flavour was heavenly.

At the end of the masterclass, we were given the chance to create our very own ice cream flavour! This was too much fun. We got to choose from a huge display of the most beautiful and freshest ingredients, from every kind of fruit, to various nuts, to different types of chocolates and caramels. We called our ice cream concoction “Sweet Berry Zing,” a combination of raspberries, blueberries, chocolate chunks, honey, and a bit of lemon. We can now call ourselves true Häagen Dazs scientists! Too bad we had to return those awesome lab coats. On the plus side, we did get armfuls of free tubs of Häagen Dazs ice cream to last us ages. What hard lives we do lead.

NB: Häagen-Dazs has launched a nationwide search for one lucky individual to discover what it is like to be an official Häagen-Dazs Taste Tester to travel to various cities around the world looking for new food trends, taste the best ingredients and collaborate with the Research & Development (R&D) team at Haagen-Dazs HQ in France on new flavours.

Headed by Chief Taste Tester Alison Gray, Häagen-Dazs will be accepting applications  27th October via www.facebook.com/haagendazs


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