Has the glorious art of alchemizing new ice cream flavors fallen out of favor in New England?
That’s one possible conclusion to draw from a list of 10 finalists in a Baskin-Robbins contest that exhorts dessert lovers to put on their thinking caps and pioneer innovative ideas in new ice cream flavors.
This year’s crop of finalists hail from such venues as South Carolina (a resident there suggests a flavor called Blondie Ambition), Ohio (French Silk Pie is a Buckeye entry), and Mississippi (the birthplace of White Raspberry Tuxedo), but nary a finalist this year comes from Baskin-Robbins’ home state of Massachusetts. (Along with sister chain Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins is headquartered in Canton.)
Of course, coming up with a new flavor for a chain with nearly 7,000 shops and roughly $1.8 billion in annual system-wide sales isn’t easy. Since its founding in 1945, Baskin-Robbins says it has amassed a data base of more than 1,000 ice cream flavors so that there is no shortage of choices when the chain wants to highlight a flavor of the month.
Several years ago, the chain launched an annual competition to come with even more flavors.
In what is formally known as the third annual “Create Baskin’s Next Favorite Flavor Contest,’’ participants were asked to become “digital dessert chefs by virtually mixing their own ingredients to create a new ice cream flavor,’’ Baskin-Robbins said in a press release.
Contestants submitted suggestions during November, and in a Thursday press release, Baskin-Robbins disclosed the names of the finalists and their virtual recipes.
It is now up to the ice cream public to help pick the winner. People can cast votes at this special Baskin-Robbins website through Jan. 17.
Each finalist will receive free ice cream for a year. In addition to having his or her creation featured as a flavor of the month, the grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to Los Angeles, $1,000 in spending money, and a visit to the Baskin-Robbins West Coast training center, the chain said.
Last year, Kelsey Lien of California, was the recipient of the grand prize, and her “Nutty Cream Cheese Brownie’’ was the chain’s flavor of the month in November.
For the record, Lien’s winning entry was described as a combination of chocolate fudge ice cream swirled with a cream cheese ribbon, combined with walnuts and fudge brownie pieces.
Will French Silk Pie, with its combo of chocolate ice cream, salty caramel ribbons, pie crust pieces, and chocolate chips, win this year’s flavor competition? Stay tuned.