One of the things I love about indulging my gastronomic curiosity (i.e . stuffing my face) in Japan is that the Japanese culinary world is always coming up with ways to make good things even better. I’m a huge fan of Japan-only Haagen-Dazs flavors such as Bitter Caramel, Azuki Milk, English Milk Tea and the newly introduced Honey Milk (which tastes, not surprisingly, like rich milk and sweet honey). I’d noticed slightly different, fancier looking versions of Haagen Dazs cartons with the label “Dolce” before, but always assumed they were just different ice cream flavors and didn’t think the fancier flavors justified a higher price tag (at my local grocery store, regular Haagen Dazs is 289 yen per carton, while the Dolce flavors are 336 yen per carton). However, in the name of “research” for this blog, I decided to buy and taste-test all of the “Dolce” flavors. It’s a tough life, I tell ya.

I was surprised, and delighted, to find that the Haagen Dazs Dolce series aren’t just higher-priced ice cream flavors – they are desserts made with ice cream! How do you improve on Haagen Dazs? You make a delicious frozen version of tiramisu made with Haagen Dazs ice cream.

The four current Dolce flavors are Tiramisu, Sweet Potato Pie, Milllefeuille aux Framboises and Fraisier – all are delicious, all are perfect individual-sized desserts. The Tiramisu has coffee-soaked ladyfingers suspended in ice cream, topped with a light coating of cocoa. It looks and tastes just like real tiramisu, only frozen, which makes it even better. The Sweet Potato Pie is a rich, buttery tasting ice cream topped with a swirl of sweet potato paste and chopped nuts. The Millefeuille aux Framboises has layers of rich ice cream that tastes similar to cheesecake, swirled with raspberry sauce and topped with crushed flaky pastry. And finally, the Fraisier has bits of sponge cake in rich vanilla ice cream, topped with a strawberry coulis. It’s ice cream…but better.

– Deb