Trader Joe's has a bunch of incredible seasonal products they've released for the holidays, and one of them in particular caught my eye: Yule log ice cream. You guys, how ridiculously weird and delightful does that sound?!
"Bûche de Noël cake is a tradition that hearkens back to the ancient practice of burning a decorated Yule log (or, as the French say, Bûche de Noël) in celebration of the winter solstice," Trader Joe's begins in their Fearless Flyer, "The custom eventually morphed into baking ornate cakes decorated to resemble a Yule log, which is a pretty favorable progression of events, if you ask us." (Agreed.)
I rushed to Trader Joe's to get a pint of this stuff. Described as an ice cream with a vanilla base, a cocoa swirl, and Bûche de Noël cake pieces, I was sort of expecting a more exciting Yule-log-concentric-circle situation, but I'll give Trader Joe's the benefit of the doubt because that sounds like that would take a lot of effort to actually do. My imagination runs rampant this time of year.
As for the taste?
Let's be honest, ice cream is always good, even if it's a flavor you're not used to. This ice cream tasted... different… to me. And not a bad different — quite the contrary — it tasted like I expect the ice cream to taste at the French chateau your family booked this holiday (one can dream). Not cloying with its sweetness, the best part by far is the cake pieces.
Bûche de Noël cakes traditionally are flourless, so those little nibs taste especially rich and chocolatey with each bite. Honestly I would buy an entire cake made out of those nibs. The cocoa swirl tasted particularly not American (like the sugary milk chocolate so common in our ice cream), which again, is a delicious thing to experience when you want to get away during the holiday season.
"This ice cream gets even merrier the more you decorate it, like with a few Pitted Amarena Cherries or even a handful of Butter Toffee Pretzel pieces," Trader Joe's suggests later on their Fearless Flyer, which I mention because I wish I remembered to pick up some cherries — they would definitely compliment the flavor of the distinctly European-tasting cocoa swirl in the ice cream — although I fared just fine with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
Still, at $2.99, this remains one of the most unique flavors of ice cream I've had here in the States, and truly, this ice cream can transport you, as my mother said, "to a holiday celebration in a snowy home in France." That's a steal considering plane ticket prices this time of year.