This week I reached out for a cup of Bavarian Chocolate Chunk ice cream, the flavor of the month at Baskin-Robbins.

October is no ordinary month at 31 Flavors, either. Baskin-Robbins is celebrating Choctoberfest, a double-dip, sweet-toothed version of Germany's annual beer blast. Oktoberfest in Germany is the largest festival in the world, attracting 6 million tourists who guzzle 5 million mammoth-sized glasses of beer and then jump on dizzying Ferris wheels and rollercoasters that put that beer in jeopardy. Choctoberfest at Baskin-Robbins features 20 different chocolate ice creams and special treats like Baron Von Chocolate Shake, Crazy for Chocolate and Chocolate Obsession Cakes, and Choctoberfest Waffle Cone Sundae.

Bavarian beer vs. Bavarian Chocolate Chunk ice cream. Both will have you staggering home feeling pretty darn happy with yourself.

Here's the blueprint: smooth chocolate ice cream, loaded with chocolate truffles and semisweet chocolate chunks.

Total calories: 240 (per scoop). Fat grams: 16. Dietary fiber: 0 grams. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $1.59 -- will vary.

Bavarian Chocolate Chunk is different from every other Baskin-Robbins chocolate ice cream in one critical -- and entirely flabbergasting -- way. All the other chocolate ice creams involve dumping cocoa powder into the ice-cream machine. With Bavarian Chocolate Chunk, Baskin-Robbins pours melted chocolate bars into the mix. And not just any supermarket-checkout chocolate bar. Baskin-Robbins bought its stash from expensive European chocolatiers. We're talking the good stuff here, the kind of chocolate you buy with your last $5 in foreign currency in the duty-free shop at the airport before coming home from vacation.

Bavarian Chocolate Chunk is super-silky smooth. It's a light-chocolate ice cream loaded with odd-shaped chocolate truffles and chocolate chips. This is not for intermediate chocolate lovers who timidly stick their toe in the chocolate pond. This is for chocolate addicts who dive in headfirst and then refuse a life preserver.

A few years ago, Baskin-Robbins had a flavor called Bavarian Chocolate. This ain't that. No way. Bavarian Chocolate Chunk is new, and it's something else. The old flavor was chocolate. This is CHOCOLATE!

With 20 of 31 ice creams devoted to chocolate, Choctoberfest is Baskin-Robbins' biggest commitment ever to one flavor. Chocolate has done well for the company.

While vanilla is the No. 1 flavor overall at Baskin-Robbins, America's biggest ice-cream chain actually sells more mint-chocolate-chip cones than any other flavor. Vanilla takes the top rung because it's used in shakes, malts, cakes and banana splits. All that non-cone activity adds up.

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page B1.

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