Monday, September 26, 2011

Ice cream review: Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey

Ice cream review by John
Score: 4 out of 5 scoops
Company: Ben & Jerry's

Banana ice creams sometimes throw me off because to my taste buds the banana is too powerful, blocking out the taste of anything else mixed in. That's not the case here, I'm happy to report, so no need to worry on that front.

What you've got here is banana ice cream with pieces of walnuts and little chunks of chocolate fudge.

As can be expected from Ben & Jerry's, this is quite a smooth ice cream. And the fudge and walnut chunks have a perfect mixture; in other words, there's enough to add a little flavor and texture, but not enough to knock out the banana flavoring.

I think Chunky Monkey is a fine ice cream by itself, but I also think some fine additions might be a little hot fudge on top, maybe also some whipped cream (the real stuff, not that garbage spewed from a can). You might even add a cherry on top, and then you'd almost have a banana split.

However you decide to eat this ice cream, it is most definitely worth your time to try.

Ice cream review: Ben & Jerry's Cake Batter

Ice cream review by John
Score: 3.5 out of 5 scoops
Company: Ben & Jerry's

Oh, yeah! When I first heard about this ice cream, I knew I just had to give it a try. Not only is yellow cake with chocolate frosting my favorite cake of all time, but I remember as a kid licking the spoon free of cake batter when my mom was finished using it while baking.

Unfortunately, this ice cream sounds a little better than it actually is. No, it's not awful, not by any means. But I think perhaps I had too high of expectations.

Yes, this is yellow cake batter ice cream with a swirl of chocolate frosting. Yes, it's pretty darn good. But no, it's not perfect.

How is it not perfect? Well, the base of yellow cake batter ice cream is kind of weak in flavor. Oh, there's flavor there, but it's not all that strong. I don't expect such flavor to take up the entire experience of tasting this ice cream, but I did expect it to have a little more oomph. The chocolate frosting swirl is also a little casual, in my opinion. Again, I think I expected something stronger, something more.

The big question, however, is: would I try this ice cream again. Yes, most definitely, but I'll have lower expectations next time.

And besides, it's still a pretty good ice cream.

Ice cream review: Häagen-Dazs Banana Split

Ice cream review by John
Score: 4 out of 5 scoops
Company: Häagen-Dazs

If you want the pleasure of a banana split without all the messy clean-up, you need to try Banana Split ice cream from Häagen-Dazs.

What you've got here is a mixture of banana ice cream with whipped cream, then a fudge swirl and pieces of cherry and strawberry added in. Basically, just what you might expect in a banana split, right? Only, and this is a bit difficult to explain, here it's just about perfect.

The Häagen-Dazs people did a solid job with their base, the banana and whipped cream. Both are balanced quite well here, and the fudge swirl is just right, enough to bring a little of that chocolate fudge flavor without going overboard. The fruit pieces are also a nice tough, adding a little texture and a hint of flavor without burdening the ice cream.

As with all Häagen-Dazs flavors, this one is quite smooth.

Do I have any complaints, especially since I didn't give a full 5 out of 5 scoops for a score? No, no complaints, but my personal preference would have been for the fudge and perhaps the whipped cream to have been just the tiniest big stronger. But those are personal preferences, and I realize others might want something different.

Ice cream review: Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino

Ice cream review by John
Score: 4 out of 5 scoops
Company: Starbucks

Coffee lovers should be thrilled with this ice cream, and even for those who might not like coffee ice creams, you need to give this one a try.

The coffee flavor here is strong enough to taste, but it's not overpowering at all. In fact, the coffee flavoring, and this ice cream's base texture, are quite smooth, rippling across the tongue.

That being said, it's the chunks of dark chocolate that truly make this ice cream a pleasure. The chocolate is a little like chips of dark chocolate, but not overly hard.

I'm big on textured foods, and this one gets it just right, having the right amount of the chocolate chunks with the smooth coffee ice cream. I'm glad I tried it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ice cream review: Ben & Jerry's Clusterfluff

Ice cream review by John
Score: 3.5 out of 5 scoops
Company: Ben & Jerry's

Clusterfluff from Ben & Jerry's starts with a peanut butter ice cream, then adds a marshmallow swirl with a peanut butter swirl and little pieces of caramel clusters. Sound delish, right? It pretty much is.

I'm not normally a big fan of peanut butter ice creams even though I love peanut butter and peanut butter candies. The reason for this is because I usually feel peanut butter ice creams are too strong in flavor, overshadowing anything else that might be mixed in. That is not the case here. Ben & Jerry's has got their base of peanut butter ice cream just right, very smooth with a little sweet peanut butter flavor, but no so much that you can't taste the other elements found within Clusterfluff.

I usually feel much the same about marshmallow when added to ice cream, that it's too overpowering, but again, that is not the case here. In fact, this might be the best addition of a marshmallow swirl to any ice cream I've ever tasted. I'm not sure, but I'm thinking maybe the addition of the peanut butter swirl helps with this, blending the marshmallow and peanut butter together in a perfect unison that gives you the effect of both but without either taking over.

The little caramel clusters are okay, but I found them a little disappointing. They're not quite crunchy, not quite soft, sort of in the middle. And the caramel flavor I felt was a big generic, sort of like cheap caramel candies. I know Ben & Jerry's can do better with their caramel.

Over all, I found this a pretty good ice cream, but it's not a favorite. And there's nothing wrong with that. Ben & Jerry's puts out several others that are favorites of mine. Besides, all of us have different tastebuds, and I'm sure Clusterfluff is a favorite to someone out there.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ice cream review: Ben & Jerry's Blueberry Cheesecake

Ice cream review by John
Score: 4 out of 5 scoops
Company: Ben & Jerry's

This treat combines two of my favorite things, blueberry and cheesecake, so you might think it should score a perfect 5 out of 5 scoops. Unfortunately, it does not, but it's still a pretty good ice cream.

Why not the perfect score? To tell it like it is, because the blueberry flavor here is too strong, pretty much overpowering all other flavors in this ice cream. If Ben & Jerry's would knock back the blueberry a little bit, this would help to elevate this treat to the next level.

Much like one of my favorites, Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake, this one includes that scrumptious graham cracker swirl which is like a piece of heaven in your mouth. If you like graham cracker flavoring, then you need to try these ice creams.

The majority of the ice cream here is a mixture of cheesecake and blueberry, which works well enough, but as I mentioned, the blueberry flavor tends to overshadow everything else.

Ah, well. Not every ice cream can be perfect. This one is definitely a step in the right direction, but a little tweaking could make it better, in my opinion.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Schweddy Balls a new flavor from Ben & Jerry's

Yes, Ben & Jerry's has come out with yet another new flavor, this one titled "Schweddy Balls" and named after a famous Saturday Night Live skit starring Alec Baldwin, Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer. If you're old enough to remember this skit, you'll also remember just how hilarious it was.

I've yet to try this new flavor, but it comes with a vanilla base and a hint of rum, as well as fudge-covered rum and chocolate layered malt balls. Sounds good to me!

If you'd like to see the original SNL skit, check out this link at Hulu.

Or check out this video below about the new Schweddy Balls ice cream.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ice cream review: Häagen-Dazs Cookies & Cream

Ice cream review by John
Score: 4 out of 5 scoops
Company: Häagen-Dazs

My wife is the big Häagen-Dazs fan, but I can't complain about the company's ice creams because they are some of the smoothest around.

This flavor, Cookies & Cream, is no exception.

As with most Cookies & Cream ice creams, this one is vanilla ice cream mixed with chocolate cookies and a little stiff cream. The cookies are basically akin to Oreo cookies, but obviously can't be called such for legal reasons.

Here the folks at Häagen-Dazs provide their traditionally smooth vanilla ice cream as the base, and a fine vanilla it is. Though I prefer "stuff" in my ice cream, whenever I am in the mood for just plain ice cream that's smooth, I always go with Häagen-Dazs.

The cookies here are of high quality, and for the most part they come in big chunks with a few crumbs here and there throughout the vanilla ice cream. My only complaint is that I felt there weren't enough chocolate cookie pieces. Most Cookies & Cream ice creams disappoint me because the cookie pieces are so small, but that wasn't the case here; the cookie pieces were big enough for my pleasure, but there just weren't that many of them. Still, I'd not turn my nose up at this particular ice cream, and there's nothing wrong with my score of 4 out of 5 scoops.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ice cream review: Ben & Jerry's Late Night Snack

Ice cream review by John
Score: 4 out of 5 scoops
Company: Ben & Jerry's

Hate to say it, but this one did not live up to my expectations. Don't get me wrong, it's still a pretty good ice cream, thus my score, but ... I don't know, I think I expected something ... better?

What you've got here is your basic vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and potato chip clusters that are covered in chocolate fudge. Sounds awesome, right? So what could go wrong?

Frankly, it's those potato chip clusters covered in fudge. They're just not all that great. They're like little salty pieces of cereal, sort of, and it just didn't work for me. It's one of those things where the idea sounds better than it really is. Those chip clusters aren't awful, and the fudge covering helps, but sometimes they're a little soft, almost soggy, and I can't abide that in anything having to do with potato chips.

Okay, enough bitching! What about the good stuff? Well, the vanilla bean ice cream is pretty good quality, and then there is the swirl of salty caramel, and this is where this ice cream truly shines. I'm a huge fan of salty caramel, and Ben & Jerry's does not disappoint on this point. No, it's not the richest caramel I've ever had, but it's pretty darn smooth and tastes oh-so-creamy in my mouth. The swirl is a fine concoction of salty and sweet flavors combined.

To back up just a little, for all my complaints, this ice cream is worth trying. It might even turn into one of your favorites, even though it's not mine. For its unique qualities, and because after all it's not that bad an ice cream (hey, 4 out of 5 scoops is still pretty good), I can suggest this ice cream to anyone.