Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Caffé Bene Cookies & Cream Bingsu - H-Mart - Cherry Hill, NJ

Caffé Bene Cookies & Cream Bingsu - H-Mart - Cherry Hill, NJ
Hello everyone, I'm back and I'm finally posting reviews again! I hate that it's been so long, but the last few weeks I've been stretched really thin.

I just wanted to give a quick shout-out/thank you to those of you who visited my table in Otakon's Artist Alley! I was able to meet so many wonderful people, and we talked about everything from video games, to food. It made me really happy, and I hope to see you all again next year. (I'm applying for a table, but it's by lottery, so it's not always guaranteed.)

Enough rambling, let's get right into today's review!

I was wandering through the ice cream section of H-Mart, looking for something fun to review, when I noticed a sea of faces staring up at me from the very bottom of the freezer case. Normally Korean ice creams have cartoon-y mascots, or images of food and fruit, but this item had some kind of model/spokesman, which was very unusual. There were only two flavors available, coffee or cookies and cream, and after walking through the aisle debating on whether of not I should buy one or not for an embarrassingly long period of time, I grabbed a cookies & cream and tossed it into my cart. 

I originally thought that the person on this packaging might be a K-Pop star, since musicians do a lot of branding promotions, but it turns out this is actually Korean actor, Kim Soo-hyun. I'm sure all of you who are into the K-Pop scene are screaming at me for my ignorance, but I'm not cool and hip like the rest of you, so this was news to me.

The design is pretty similar to American ice cream pints, only this is made of plastic and, instead of being tub-shaped (like a pint of ice cream), this had a more ovate and rounded bottom. The shape is similar to the rounded glass container that the spokesman is holding in the photo. (Although the one he is holding looks cartoonishly huge in his hands.) The design is pretty similar to American ice cream as well. We have lovely food images and all the necessary information, only this just happens to be in Korean. I really liked this packaging because it was lovely, but durable, and then this last little feature put it over the top.

I noticed that the top label had a little flap in the center, right on top of our handsome actor's face. I lifted up the flap (which tore poor Kim Soo-hyun in half) and there was a handy little plastic spoon inside! I love this! It's so convenient, and the plastic was nice and sturdy, unlike some of the tiny plastic utensils I've gotten with other convenience store food items.This design may not be new or innovative as far as it's appearance, but I love how functional it is! Plus it's all recyclable, which is super awesome.

Now that I have my handy little spoon, let's see what's inside.

At first I had assumed that this was just an ice cream or frozen confection, but it's actually Bingsu, which is a shaved ice dessert with various toppings and mix-ins. So for those of you unfamiliar with shaved ice desserts, the easiest way I can describe it is that this is kind of like mixing cookies and ice cream, with a snow cone, only the ice is much finer.

I peeled back the decorative lid, and the surface was a swirl of vanilla ice ream-like confection and cookie bits.

After a bite or two, I'm a bit hesitant to refer to this creamy mixture as an "ice cream." Have any of you ever gotten that huge plastic tub of "ice cream" from the grocery store? The one that's super cheap and usually served at kid's parties? This is like that. It's not quite as rich and smooth as actual ice cream, but it's close enough, and there is a Cool Whip-like lightness to it's texture. It's creamy, light, and enjoyable, but I wouldn't say this was a true "ice cream." Still, it tasted pretty good with the cookie bits, and it sure looked pretty.

As I worked my way through the layers I eventually hit the shaved ice at the bottom.

The shaved ice seemed to have been blended with the cookie bits, and maybe additional chocolate, so it had a mild Wendy's Frosty-like flavoring and a delightfully icy crunch. I know shaved ice and cookie bits may sound unappealing to some, but it was really refreshing and light!I read reviews online saying the best way to enjoy this specific flavor of Bingsu is to mix it all up and eat it together, and not to leave it layered, so I gave that a try, and it was really good! The frozen vanilla confection was creamy and sweet, the cookie bits on top were crumbly and chocolatey, and the ice added a refreshing lightness and crunchiness. Imagine a cookie and cream themed Frosty, and it'd be pretty close to this. (Although this is much more solid and less milkshake-like.) I love it! The shaved ice kept the frozen confection from being too sweet and rich, and it left me feeling really refreshed.

I live in New Jersey, which is very far from Korea, and a lot of the food products I get at H-Mart or the Asian Food Market are older and have traveled quite a bit to get here. With that being said, I'm super surprised that this little frozen confection was in such amazing condition. The ice cream hadn't melted and re-solidified, the shaved ice at the bottom was still fluffy and not an ice brick, and the packaging was in great condition. I really loved this little treat and I'll happily repurchase if it's there during my next grocery run! 
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1 comment:

  1. I'm actually really glad you happened to review this; I was with my father just the other day in the H-Mart and I contemplated getting this thinking it was ice cream, but when my dad read that it was shaved ice our expectations fell dramatically and we walked on by. I would have never guessed this is what it actually would look like!
    Please review the coffee flavor when/if you get the chance!!!