Sunday, June 8, 2014

Red Velvet Inspirations

Since I've been back I've noticed not only have red velvet cupcakes become more popular, but the red velvet flavor itself has become a kind of phenomenon. Much like the hipster movement, it seems that red velvet has taken over every aspect of life...or at least life in the kitchen. I've seen and tasted red velvet flavors in ice cream, tea, and even wine. I thought I'd give my take on it all.

First, let's talk about the ice cream. That was the first exposure I had to the red velvet flavor takeover. I was excited at first, given the description of the ice cream. My first taste was of Ben & Jerry's version. Let me tell you, out of all the ones I tasted, theirs is probably the most rambunctious with flavor. They describe their version as red velvet ice cream with cream cheese frosting mixed in along with chunks of red velvet and chocolate cake. I would taste every bit of that description. Now, I will add this caveat, it depends on the carton. The second time I got this flavor from Ben & Jerry's, the mixture was different in its proportions. It seemed to me that it all depended on what part of the mix you got. Some cartons seem to have more cake and ice cream and less frosting, while others were bursting with frosting. Either way, I'd say it was a win. My second taste was of Blue Bell's version, which was termed to be red velvet flavored ice cream with cream cheese frosting swirls and chunks of red velvet cake. The ice cream itself tasted more or less like vanilla ice cream. I couldn't taste the cream cheese frosting as much, but in the end the chunks of red velvet cake is what won me over. They add a nice change of texture to the whole mix. The last version I tried was Aldi's Belmont. The description was basically the same as the other two, but I had to say it took the cake. The ice cream was a perfect chocolate flavor that wasn't too chocolatey like I've found traditional chocolate ice cream to be. The cream cheese frosting and the cake bits were just perfect, not too over powering but complimentary to the overall mix.

Next let's talk about the tea. I've only tried the Cuppa Chocolate Tea flavor and I have to say, it's a nice change of pace from your regular tea or hot chocolate drink. It's smooth and light like a tea, but has the robust flavor of a hot chocolate. With the addition of the red velvet smoothness, it feels wonderful on a Sunday afternoon. I have to say, I was very impressed. I wasn't really sure what I was expecting, I almost just expected a hot chocolate dazzled up so they could charge more. Let me tell you, it is worth every cent. When I taste the tea, I can imagine I'm eating a delicious red velvet cupcake. I don't taste any frosting, but that's the way I like my red velvet cupcakes, less dressed up.

Finally, we'll talk about the wine. Now, I have been overwhelmingly disappointed with Cupcake Vineyards, simply because they haven't produced any wine that, to me, screams CUPCAKE! It seems like they used the cupcake term to reel people in. They have a good wine, I'll give them that, but why name the vineyards Cupcake Vineyards? I never understood. I found a bottle of red labeled Red Velvet. I was intrigued. I went into it not expecting much given my previous disappointment. I red the description and it seemed to have more of a black forest cake type taste rather than red velvet (this, according to the description). I wasn't deterred. I decided to go ahead. The wine was smooth and dry, like most reds. I wasn't surprised with that. I was also not surprised to find I tasted no hint of red velvet or black forest. Overall, it didn't live up to the name.

At the end of the day, nothing replaces a good, old fashioned red velvet cupcake.

On with the hunt...

Red Velvet Ice Cream:
-Blue Bunny
-Ben & Jerry's
-Blue Bell

Red Velvet Teas:
-Cuppa Chocolate Tea

Red Velvet Wine:
-Cupcake Vinyards

For photos, please see my Instagram account: myredvelvet8me

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