Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are sugar superheroes, courageous candymen, bringers of caloric joy. Thank the gooey gods neither had success within the world of higher-education. As you do when institutional life kicks you in the pants, these childhood friends decided to take an ice-cream making correspondence course through Penn State University and opened their first ice-cream parlor in Burlington, Vermont on May 5, 1978. And thus, to this day, they’ve spread sprinkles and chunks of joy throughout the land for *everyone!
*Everyone who eats dairy…
(insert saddest emoji kitten slowly playing tiny violin)
Whether allergy, diet restrictions, health reasons or personal choice, the dairy-free contingent had to either cheat or outright abstain from Ben & Jerry’s flavor-filled further-minded products for nearly 40 years! FOH.
Some places the sun don’t shine, as the saying goes, but rainbows now glow everywhere! 2016 marked the release of Ben & Jerry’s Dairy Free Ice Cream! After years of recipe testing the sans-dairy versions hit store shelves at the end of February. Ben & Jerry sell four varieties of vegan verified (made with almond milk), fair-trade certified and non-gmo goodness.
Ben & Jerry’s website offers a Finder option for each variety by adding a zip code to see what stores sell near you.
The Market District on Centre Avenue listed four but only three were shelved when we arrived. Chunky Monkey, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Coffee Caramel Fudge. ecoRDN decided on the Chocolate Fudge Brownie and the Coffee Caramel Fudge, like bosses.
The good soldiers ecoRDN are, we split a pint of Coffee Caramel Fudge in the Market District bar/cafe and it was worth it, don’t judge. Classic sundae flavorites, you can’t go wrong with the marriage of comfort caramel, sweet fudge and aromatic coffee. Malty, rich, brown and earthy, but earthy like the dirt is cocoa and sugar is sand. Good flavor and solid ingredients are a given from Ben & Jerry. The most important qualities of a dairy free ice cream are their consistency and texture. How it feels on the tongue, is it more frosty like skim milk ice cream or sorbet, or can you feel the weight of the fat? Though almond based, they do contain coconut oil. Coconut based ice creams have that weight, and in this case the coconut oil takes over the mouth and the experience becomes lush saturation. So to the point, Coffee Caramel Fudge has weight! A literal ‘holy shit, this is vegan!” epiphany smacked ecoRDN in the face. Honestly the best store bought vegan ice cream we’ve ever eaten. A damn fine job!
Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Dense chocolate, cocoa brownie, truffle-like crumble. Thin and ‘frosty’ in the mouth. Feels like dairy free ice cream in the mouth. The flavor is the game changer, it is a frozen brownie in a cup. Dark decadent chocolate perfection.
There were two varieties left to sample, finding them proven daunting. The Market District carried only three of the four. If we were to find the remaining two we’d need to don our detective hats and get down to brass tacks! So we made tracks to the Giant Eagle in Aspinwall. An eight mile roundtrip jaunt to find the remaining two proved fruitful!
Chunky Monkey is our least favorite. Although the flavor grew on ecoRDN during the second sitting, the first bite was kind of strange. Strange is a difficult word to use in a food review, it’s vague yet conveys myriad flat flavor tones. Yet something in the banana taste threw us off. The banana is all natural, the ingredients list bananas. Banana ice cream perhaps is something that one-half of ecoRDN is simply not into. If you like banana ice cream go and grab this unique flavor. Chunky Monkey is rounded out with walnuts and fudge chunks.
P.B. & Cookie is the BUSINESS end of the sweetest stick swung by dairy-free sugar giants everywhere (so far, challenge accepted Ben & Jerry!). Luscious vanilla bean ice cream loaded with salty peanut butter chunks and ENTIRE cream-filled sandwich cookies! The mouth feels are spot-on! Rich, fatty, full bodied sweet rich and perfect. Wow! Coffee Caramel Fudge and P.B. & Cookie FTW
ecoRDN is impressed, for really real!
Ben & Jerry’s Dairy Free for life!
Stay Tuned for more dairy-free ice cream reviews to follow!
Thanks For Reading, Eat Well!
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