Friday, March 18, 2016
Food Review: Ben and Jerry's Non-Dairy Ice Cream
I'm a little late to the party on this, but I FINALLY found the exciting new non-dairy and vegan ice cream flavors that Ben and Jerry's recently released! I wasn't really searching for them in earnest before, because, let's be honest, my freezer was already full of vegan frozen desserts! When I finally spotted them at Target (two of my local Targets didn't have them, but I found them by chance at the Target at the Irvine Spectrum if you're local), I HAD to buy all four flavors...for science, right?
The vegan Ben and Jerry's were kinda tucked away with the other non-dairy flavors, and were not in the same location as the groddy dairy filled ice creams - just an FYI in case you aren't finding the vegan flavors. Ben and Jerry's has four vegan flavors on the market, all almond milk-based. The flavors are Chocolate Fudge Brownie (chocolate non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge brownies), Coffee Caramel Fudge (coffee non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge chunks and a caramel swirl), PB and Cookies (vanilla non-dairy frozen dessert with chocolate sandwich cookies and crunchy peanut butter swirls), and Chunky Monkey (banana non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge chunks and walnuts).
The flavor I was most looking forward to was Chunky Monkey! I looooove bananas and chocolate, so it's an obvious choice for me! How did Ben and Jerry's do with their take on vegan ice cream? Check out my thoughts below on how Ben and Jerry's did with their take on vegan ice cream...I've ranked the flavors from my favorite to least favorite.
PB and Cookies - This was by far my favorite of the bunch! It felt like I was eating one of those Peanut Butter Patties from the Girl Scouts (which just happens to be vegan if made by ABC Bakers - full guide on Girl Scout cookies HERE)! It was packed full of peanut buttery goodness with a yummy mix of vanilla and chocolate. And I really loved the texture of the ice cream - it had a fluffy consistency that made it easy to scoop out of the pint (yup, I eat ice cream straight outta the carton - no bowls needed!) and a very creamy mouthfeel without any of that odd "icy" consistency of some vegan ice creams. If you are a peanut butter lover like I am, you will dig this ice cream! (UPDATE 1: This flavor unfortunately contains palm oil, and since palm oil harvesting has such a huge detrimental effect on the environment, I won't buy this flavor again.)
Chunky Monkey - Oh man, this definitely lived up to my expectations, perhaps even exceeding them. I loved the banana ice cream and it had some really big chunks of fudge and nice crispy bits of walnut for crunch! Not only is it packed full of flavor, but like the PB and Cookies it has a perfect texture and spot-on consistency! I honestly don't think people could tell the difference between this one and the dairy one (Ben and Jerry's, just make ALL your flavors vegan, ok?).
Chocolate Fudge Brownie - Okay, this wasn't bad, but I'm not really a chocolate-on-chocolate person already, so this was was just kinda meh to me. It wasn't as rich as I hoped it was gonna be, and the aftertaste was kinda chalky. Still, I bet this stuff would be pretty awesome dressed up with some toppings like cherries, sprinkles, and bits of candy!
Coffee Caramel Fudge - This was the flavor I was least impressed with, and I love coffee! Again, it wasn't awful, but it was just not that exciting for me. I felt like the coffee flavor was off and didn't quite work with the chocolate and caramel flavors going on. However, I want to try making a coffee float with this and some iced coffee and see it that makes it better. I also plan on scooping some into my morning coffee when I'm feeling particularly decadent, so not all is lost!
Overall, I had two flavors I was pretty impressed with and two I was kinda meh about. That's a pretty good start, and I love how such a mainstream brand has begun offering vegan options! These were almost sold out when I found them (I was pretty lucky to find all four flavors), and I've heard similar reports from others. Hopefully these are really successful for Ben and Jerry's, to the point where they start offering more vegan flavors and perhaps phase out the dairy all together!
The only con is that these are kinda pricey - I paid $4.99 for each pint. A lot of people have been finding them on sale, though, and prices will vary by location. Also, I think the price is comparable to other vegan ice creams out there, plus Ben and Jerry's uses fair trade-certified cocoa, sugar, bananas, coffee, and vanilla, their ingredients are all non-GMO and certified vegan! Win!
Thanks Ben and Jerry's for offering vegan options, and I hope more vegan flavors are released soon!
For more info and to see where these are sold in your area, visit Ben and Jerry's website!
UPDATE 2 - I didn't know this when I purchased the ice creams, but Ben and Jerry's is owned by Unilever, which still tests on animals when "required by law" (which basically means they still do). While I think it is great that big companies are offering up vegan options, I also want my money to go to more ethically-sound companies, so I will probably put my money towards vegan ice cream companies like Nada Moo, Mr. Dewie's, Vixen Kitchen, and so on. I strongly believe in making your own choice on this issue, but I wanted to mention this since I wasn't aware when I bought this ice cream and it may impact whether or not you purchase this ice cream.