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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Steve's Ice Cream, originally from Massachusetts, became well-known in the 70s as the first truly gourmet ice cream shop. Sadly, the shop no longer exists, though the brand was revived, at least in name, in 2012 by David Stein, a former Steve's employee. This ice cream line is available in stores, and they've even been introducing new flavors—the brand recently teamed up with some great restaurants such as Pies 'N Thighs and Bluebottle Coffee. Today we tried Coconut Key Lime and Southern Banana Pudding, both collaborations with Pies 'N Thighs. We also tried Salted Caramel as well as two nondairy flavors, Blackberry Honey and Mint Cacao Chip.

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The Coconut Key Lime Pie was a big hit, but be warned, it's intense. It's extremely tart and acidic, which is great, but also a bit overwhelming and it may have obliterated any coconut flavor there was to find. I definitely enjoyed the boldness of this flavor, but I felt like I was missing out on the coconut.

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Southern Banana Pudding was delicious. This is an ice cream I would keep in my freezer at home and reach for again and again. The flavor matches up well with its name and it really does mimic banana pudding. The banana ice cream tastes like real bananas and the mixed in nilla wafers are a little salty and have a good crunch.

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The Mint Cacao Chip threw us off. It's made with peppermint extract, which makes the minty flavor reminiscent of chewing gum as opposed to fresh mint. Luckily the cacao nibs added a nice bitterness, and a twist on the classic mint chip flavor. This was one of the non-dairy flavors, which would not have been obvious to me. It's definitely as creamy as the regular flavors.

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Blackberry Honey, another non-dairy flavor, was good, but it didn't empty quite as fast as some of the other pints. Just like with the Mint Cacao Chip, you don't miss the dairy. You can really taste the honey, but I wish there was a little more tartness from the blackberries.

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Salted Caramel had us scratching our heads. The carton says that the ice cream itself is caramel flavored, but that just didn't seem to be the case. It was more of a butter cream, which was tasty, albeit a little too sweet. The caramel swirls throughout were tasty, sticky, and stretchy, but by no means salty enough for our tastes or expectations.

The verdict: There's plenty to enjoy among these flavors, but there seemed to be a disconnect between them and the Steve's of yore, not to mention the ones we tried just a few weeks ago.

Have you tried these new collaborative flavors from Steve's? What did you think?

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