I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I love sweepstakes. It's embarrassing and ridiculous and I'm fine with that. You are welcome to mock me all you like but one day when I win a Land Rover and a week long trip for seven to Telluride with daily spa treatments, don't expect an invitation from me. Actually, that was a sweepstake from last year and I didn't win that one.
The sweepstake peaking my interest currently is sponsored by Haagen-Dazs. (Out of fairness it's more of a contest than a sweepstake but let's not waste time with semantics.) I'm still debating whether or not telling you about this will ruin my chances of winning. As we all know, sweepstakes are about probability, so don't go getting any big ideas that are better than mine.
Haagen-Dazs is searching for a new flavor; the company is asking that contestants submit their ideas via story, video, or artwork. Sometime in February, three finalists will be brought to the H-D factory in beautiful Bakersfield to doctor their flavor alongside experienced ice cream scientists. The winner will go to Gourmet magazine's headquarters in New York for a flavor unveiling. One million pints of this limited edition flavor will be released with the winner's name etc.
This is my dream and I've thought long and hard about it. I wanted the flavor to be a reflection of me with emphasis on invention and risk-taking. I'm a spice devotee known to take Sriracha straight from the bottle. Initially I came up with flavors like spicy chamomile and jalapeno apricot. Then I re-read the rules and noticed that a flavor will be judged in part on the likelihood of Haagen-Dazs consumers wanting to try it...hmmm.
I thought a while longer, took an informal poll of the friends I could find, and then arrived at the following. In response to the question "what was the inspiration for your flavor?" I submitted this entry (the writing is a little kitschy but go onto the website and see the video examples and then you'll understand)and please bear in mind I was limited to 200 words:
San Francisco is known for its foggy days. Few things offset the chill like a soothing cup of Earl Gray tea with a little milk and sugar. San Francisco is also known for its chocolate. From San Francisco Chocolate Company to Ghiradelli, many of us cannot live without a daily fix. Earl Gray tea has been paired with dark chocolate before though not, in my (albeit limited) knowledge, in ice cream. With this in mind I came up with the following flavor: Bergamot Dark Chocolate.
A dominant flavor in Earl Gray is Bergamot, which is a small acidic orange. Paired here, a hint of citrus will compliment the richness of the dark chocolate and the acid will marry with its faint bitterness. Add to this the signature creaminess found in Haagen-Dazs and the result will be ethereal.
Haagen-Dazs flavors are decadent and refined and play off the integrity and simplicity of ingredients. Haagen-Dazs caters to a consumer base with a sophisticated palette. Bergamot Dark Chocolate is a departure from the played out combinations of vanilla bases and baked goods; it fits the profile of a flavor that should be in Haagen-Dazs' notoriously decadent line-up.
Apparently sometime in February there will be an opportunity for people to vote on the top ten flavors they find most enticing. I'll be sure to let you all know when Bergamot Dark Chocolate hits the top ten.