Well at least they were kind enough to not name this Pumpkin Spice Mochi Ice Cream. There is something...unsettling about mentioning pumpkin spice and my beloved mochi ice cream in the same sentence. We have already established that pumpkin spice sits low on my hierarchy of seasonal foods. This is the last pumpkin spice review for 2016 y'all.
Although the packaging is similar, I'm not so sure that this is the same supplier responsible for the coffee and mango mochis that I have tried. No claims that it is made in Thailand. It does however claim to be a "seamless blend" of two cultures. Hopefully more seamless than today's political, social, and racial climate. Forreals.
I have to confess some pride and prejudice that went down here (fabulous book by the way unless you're my high school chemistry teacher. Or A). The prejudice? I never give pumpkin spice a fair chance at life because its existence is offensive to my palate. Which is only semi-true by the way. The pride? Pumpkin spice can never be anywhere near as delicious as speculoos, coffee, or green tea ice cream. Which leads to - how could anyone be so ignorant as to like pumpkin spice ice cream? My jaw was dropping in my head as my friends tried these pumpkin mochis one by one, all agreeing that it's pretty good (and that it's worthy of like a 8 or 9 rating?!). How could this be???
I semi-hated (but not really because hate is a strong word...especially since pumpkin spice isn't so low that it's on my do-not-eat list. a very short list by the way) to admit that there was something objectively good about this ice cream. Number one thing is that the mochi skin is about double the thickness compared to the others, which still only makes it maybe a couple of millimeters thick but it is a bit chewier and has more tension in the way I prefer. Although, I'm not sure if it's that I neglected these in the freezer so long that they have somehow dried out and become stale. Nonetheless, the ice cream itself is not bad and dare I say..pretty good. Sweet but not overly sweet. Not overly pumpkin spiced but has enough flavor and orange color to tell you that it's supposed to be pumpkin-something. Also, the brown sugar and cinnamon is VAGUELY reminiscent of my beloved speculoos ice cream, but the mochi ice cream I got only had one dinky graham cracker piece. Not impressed but any more probably would have been a less seamless blend of a minimalist (less is more) and consumerist (more is more) culture. Is it fair to say that of Japanese vs. American culture? Perhaps perhaps. Somehow, it works. The pumpkin is out there enough to be a non-traditional ice cream flavor, but it pairs well with a slightly better mochi outer (not as good as Mikawaya).
And yes it is so fitting that I saved this review for the aftermath of the election. I was going to rant about this thing being orange and all. Seems to be less of a fruitful, edifying discussion at least on a Trader Joe's blog. But instead, if I learned anything from this ice cream, it's that pride and prejudice have more in common than we think. We have a long road ahead of walking together and giving one another a fair chance.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pie Mochi Ice Cream. Pseudo pumpkin-spiced pumpkin spice ice cream wrapped in moderately better mochi. If you like pumpkin spice more than me, you will like this. Most likely. Add about 1.5 bonus points to my score. 7 out of 10.