If you’ve ever had a scoop of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, you know that
the brand is already an innovator when it comes to flavors, ingredients, and
aesthetics. But, the latest pints to come out of Jeni’s test kitchen had our entire office talking, and made us think about ice
cream (and food more generally) in a completely new light.
Dubbed the Colors Collection, it's a set of six new ice creams and frozen yogurts, all designed to taste just like a specific color. And, the names of the colors/flavors are so luscious that they successfully make your mouth water right away: There's Ultramarine Blue (vibrant electric blue fro-yo),
Ombre Brûlée (tawny toasted umber),
Persian Orange (juicy bright orange fro-yo), Garance Vert Clair (Noir D’ivoire, aka salt-dusted ebony), and Cadmium Yellow (bitter citron yellow fro-yo).
We had a chance to chat with Jeni Britton Bauer about the
new collection, her inspiration, and her process. Turns out she came up
with the idea while viewing a Matisse exhibit at the MoMA last fall. Seeing all
the striking colors in person, she started to wonder what each hue
would taste like. By the time she got back to her test kitchen, she already had flavors in
mind. She began with 20 flavors and, through a lot of tasting and tweaking, wound up with the six finalists above. She insists that the process isn’t quite as complicated as
it sounds. “It’s just a matter of making a lot of ice cream and tasting it,”
Bauer told us. Can you say dream job? Clearly, we are in the wrong line of
Jeni has thoroughly enjoyed watching kids and adults alike
have a blast trying the new flavors and talking about what colors taste like in
general. “We’re already conditioned to see flavor and color hooked
together, so it’s really fun to remind ourselves of that,” she says. Ultimately, she wants the act of eating ice cream (in addition to being totally delicious
and indulgent) to spark conversations among eaters.
So far, she's been successful in that — and we know that because we did a blind taste test of all six flavors at the Refinery29 offices. When we say blind, we mean that we literally blindfolded our tasters so they
wouldn’t see the color printed on the pint they were eating from. (Side note: Eating ice cream blindfolded is no easy feat, and we definitely lost a few spoonfuls to the floor. The lucky, lucky floor.) What color did our tasters have the most success guessing?
Orange. We suspect that's because most of us already closely associate the flavor of an
orange with its color.
Should you want to conduct your very own taste test, the Colors Collection is available online — and it also comes with a book created by
Jeni’s Art & Design team that is all about flavor and color — or at her
scoop shop locations.