Coolhaus’s Balsamic Fig & Mascarpone Ice Cream raises a brow at you as you pluck it from the dairy case. It is right to have reservations. Though no stranger to Mother in her cidery form and friend to assorted reductions, you’ve never craved vinegar in your ice cream. Might as well yearn for jellybean prawns or wasabi crème brûlée. Still, this world is a troubled place, and if not now then when? At the checkout, the clerk gives you a second skeptical up-brow — as if you’ve arrived at the counter with a napkin, brandy, and a cheerful, chirping ortolan. “It’s for a friend,” you want to say, but you know they’d never believe you.

When you get the Coulhaus home, you can tell from the carton’s give under finger and thumb that the stuff inside has reached its optimal half-melt. You pry off the lid and spoon up a glob before your better angels can stop you. The balsamic tang is instantaneous, zinging out from the mascarpone like wildfire. Strangely, your tastebuds start rejoicing. You picture the Heritage Trust dancing a jig as they hauled Shackleton’s scotch up from the floor of the Arctic. Beneath the vinegar’s sting await the real pearls, however, the gorgeous gobs of fig mash. If the Buddha really found Truth under a tree of these beauts, you can sure as hell see why. Their honeyed grit molds to your tongue like nectar. And once it has seized you, there’s no letting go. You prod at the lonely mascarpone to get a taste by itself, and its sweetness is otherworldly.

Afterward, you lounge awhile in blissful repose before putting pen to paper. Here comes the ol’ Coleridgean panic. Save the figgy pleasure dome while you can! In the end, your review barely scratches the surface. The effort, at least, granted you a grin from the empty Coolhaus carton. This, you suppose, is the best you could have hoped for.