Seasonal food smackdown

The time for presents and gluttonous spending has finally come. While this season of jubilance and consumerism has many perks, one of the most remarkable causes of exuberance for me (blame my mother’s obsession with healthy cooking) is the slew of holiday eats at different local establishments. Set loose in New Haven, I — an impressionable, young and eager freshman — embarked on a journey to find New Haven’s best seasonal foods.

Ashley’s Ice Cream, “Connecticut’s Best”, looked promising, but as I delved into my cup of pumpkin ice cream, I was initially disappointed by its heavyhanded flavor. But when the taste started to oscillate between subtle and very intense as I progressed through the cup, the frozen concoction became more refreshing and enjoyable. However, as the ice cream starts to slowly melt, its flavor becomes overwhelming, so I would suggest either consuming the product fast (brain freeze!) or enjoying it outside – if you don’t mind eating ice cream in 30 degree weather.

What’s disappointing about Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte is that despite how delicious its caramel topping is, the combination of the protective plastic cup and the warmth of the beverage ensures that the vast majority of the scrumptious crystallized flakes will be gone by the time you settle down to drink it. The drink is tasty, but its misleading name, that promises delicious caramel flakes, was a dealbreaker.

Book Trader’s pumpkin gingerbread doesn’t looks if it would be worth the trouble. How looks deceive …

The surface of the gingerbread was moist, but was not sticky. The slice was firm and did not readily dissolve in my mouth. What makes the gingerbread pop is a hint of a different, more bitter component that kept it from being too sugary sweet. Score.

With its frozen fare, FroyoWorld was the ultimate underdog in this arctic climate.

Reasons it should have failed:

  1. Frozen yogurt is so Malibu.

  2. Have you been outside recently? (Hint: 30ºF)

  3. It’s located across from the Starbucks on Chapel St. Gutsy move, FroyoWorld.

As it turns out, FroyoWorld managed to overcome all of these seemingly unsurmountable obstacles and has become a new Yale favorite. However, the fast-approaching Connecticut winter forced it to explore a different world, that of Belgian cuisine, to mitigate some of its potential shortcomings. The new FroyoWorld Belgian waffle (Fraffle?), while not exclusively a wintertime dessert, comes as a welcome addition to what’s otherwise a very summery menu. After topping my waffle with an array of Christmassy colors (keeping it festive!) I proceeded to “indulge myself.”

What I love about FroyoWorld is that it lets you make your own mistakes. Apparently combining gummi bears, strawberries, whipped cream and the new hazelnut crunch topping — so delish! — is a bad idea. But as soon as I tried the waffle part of the elaborate construction, I wept with joy (OK, not really, but I was SO happy). The golden-brown slices dominated the whirling mass of red, brown and green. It was moist and soft but still crunchy and not too sweet. It was perfect and ideal and amazing and totally awesome. I didn’t care that the waffle was slightly burned on the edges — the crispier, the better — and I was devastated when my waffle experience ended, despite suffering a stomachache from eating too much.

In a season of joy and cheer, all of the above might seem formidable contenders for the title of the quintessential holiday treat. But after we recover from our New Year’s hangovers and take down our festive garlands, the December specials will be long gone, but one will remain supreme. ALL. YEAR. LONG.

Fraffle: 1,000,000,000 Christmas Desserts: 0.

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