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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream

Written by | July 22, 2014

Topics: 6 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream

Sometimes you have one of those days. You drop your toothbrush in the toilet. You eat shell in your scrambled eggs. You get attacked by three nefarious pigeons while walking to the pharmacy and break your sunglasses.

Such was the day I was having when I walked into a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, half-blind from my sunglasses-less eyes. Craving something to promote my tooth decay, Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream seemed like my Golden Ticket.

Sweet cream. Chocolate ice cream. Caramel clusters. Fudge almonds. Marshmallow swirl. Sounds like a mish-mosh put together by especially creative carnies with ingredients that would make the Grinch’s hearts grow to the strength of 10 Grinches (plus 2). How will its tastes settle on a non-Grinch? Only one way to find out…

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream Must find all the clusters!

Gilly (played by Kristen Wiig) is known as the rambunctious rally-rouser in the Saturday Night Live classroom, having created all sorts of semi-violent mischief, including walloping buckets of Chunky Monkey ice cream at the teacher. That same degree of mischief is evidenced here by the multitude of kooky ingredients pummeled into this frozen dairy concoction.

Let’s start with the two bases: the swirl of sweet cream and chocolate ice creams is distinct. The sweet cream portion reminds me of milk that’s been artfully infused with Frosted Flakes while the chocolate tastes light and sugary, much similar to a Hershey’s bar. It’s perhaps not the best chocolate you’ve had in your life, but definitely lovable. When the two mix together, that chocolate flavor takes over while a tinge of hyper sweetness comes at the back end from the sweet cream, making for a very, very light milk chocolate base. It’s dense and creamy, even if perhaps a bit subtle for my inner chocolate fiend.

Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream The Cluster Cave

But what I’m really here for are the mix-ins. Just look at that rocky terrain obstructing the creaminess. Clusters! Fudgy almonds! Those fudge almonds add a deeper dimension in the universe of chocolates, touting more of a semisweet profile than the base, while the almonds contribute their thudding crunch more than any notable flavor. And, oh yes, the marshmallow swirl: it’s goopy, in that humble marshmallow fluff way, although its one-note, straight-up-sugar flavor comes across tame against the subtly cocoa-y base, a shame as the marshmallow swirl in Phish Food ranks up there in my personal Ultimate Favorite Ice Cream Experiences of All Time Ever.

But, meanwhile, the clusters. Man, those clusters. Those chunky, sweet caramel little crunches add more than all the heart, stars, horseshoes, clovers, and blue moons combined. Chunky. Lightly burnt sugar. A tad sticky. Part of this balanced breakfast. But there aren’t enough of them! Must find all the chunkies! Must eat a whole bowl! Someone must turn these chunkies into a granola. Immediately.

My dad always told me good things come to those who persevere. But sometimes, persevering isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to wait. In a line. For 32 minutes. With a screaming three-year-old. And a tall man’s sweaty armpit in your nose. But the key is to never lose sight of the goal, for the goal will be your reward.

In this case, I was rewarded with some high-quality ice cream and, while it was good, I don’t think I’d go back for Gilly’s. The ingredients were all high quality, yet they mixed together in an altogether subtle way. It almost represents the wackadoodle character of Gilly. It had the kooky ingredients, yet the delivery was muddled. Perhaps more of those amazing clusters, some richer chocolate in the base, maybe a hint of something gritty, like a graham cracker or cookie, and BOOM. It’d be Gilly madness all up in here.

But just because it’s not for me doesn’t mean it can’t be for you. If you like crunchy, caramel things, almonds, and subtle milk chocolate ice cream, this is worth persevering for. It’s really a good ice cream. Don’t be ashamed of your flavor preferences! Find the chunkies! Eat them all! Persevere!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 250 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.75
Size: 1 scoop
Purchased at: Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop (Rockefeller Center)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Crunchies! Lovable chocolate base. Thuddy almonds. Slow melting. Fudge coating adds different dimension of chocolate. Creative carnies.
Cons: Needs more clusters. Milk chocolate base may be too subtle for some. Marshmallow gets lost in sweet cream. Dropping your toothbrush in the toilet. Getting attacked by three nefarious pigeons.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Lazy Sunday Ice Cream

Written by | July 14, 2014

Topics: 5 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Lazy Sunday Ice Cream

Lazy Sunday now is in ice cream form
But to eat it, you gotta go to the Ben and Jerry’s store
“What’s that?” you ask. Let me shut down your smile
No Lazy Sunday in the supermarket aisle

Based on the sketch by Samberg and Parnell
Look it up on YouTube—it did super well
There are tons of parodies, and we should confess
That white people joke rap is borderline at BEST

The flavor has chocolate swirl and some cake bits
A cake batter base—okay, just let me taste it
Ben & Jerry’s adding to my building frustration
The nearest Scoop Shop is at the f*$%ing train station

Left. No—right! No—straight! One-way street!
Pedaling the bicycle, can’t wait for those sweets
I know where I’m going, don’t get it twisted
Used Google Maps because the rap song insisted

(instrumental break)

I stroll to the counter, try to act all casual
Like I’m not reviewing food, stay normal and affable
The attendant asks me, “How does two scoops sound?”
I tell her “Three scoops. I’m not fooling around.”

Start to dig in to the creamy frozen treat
It smells like a birthday cake, if you can believe
Chocolate and vanilla flavoring—both pretty typical
Let’s talk about the cake bits and get a little critical

Breaking up the texture would be the dream
But they’re about the same consistency of frozen ice cream
They’re chewy and sticky, tiny bits of brilliance
Too bad when you’re eating cake, you can’t tell the difference

Cake ice cream, cake bits, so much cake, I’m at a party
One-sided, kinda boring, tell the host I’m sorry
I’m tasting too much cake, that’s the reason why
Even at a cake party I pull the Irish goodbye.

Nothing crunchy, nothing salty, nothing avant garde
I will not mourn you at the Flavor Graveyard
Do they really bury pints there? The gravestone quips
Here lies Jimmy Fallon: Fudge-covered potato chips

They stuck cupcakes in this because it’s in the song
I can’t help but think they were doing something wrong
Maybe there are legal things and other confines
But imagine this flavor: Mr. Pibb and Red Vines

The Ben & Jerry’s lady says to me the price
I do a double take, “Say it to me, twice.”
It costs same as a pint? What are you, insane?
You know who I’m not? Marta Kauffman nor David Crane

I liked this okay, I guess what I mean is
Like McAdams likes Gosling, in two thousand fourteens’
Yeah, sure, okay, Us Weekly confirms
They both feel indifferent—left on decent terms

Get back on my bike, flash a little grin
Still had ice cream so I consider that a win
Wrote up this track here, a tribute to the original
I’m eating Americone Dream, my life’s so nutritional

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup — 230 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 60 grams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.).)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Lazy Sunday Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $5.50
Size: Large (3 scoops)
Purchased at: Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: It’s ice cream. Cake balls are very cake-y. Cake flavoring is strong, good.
Cons: It’s not really balanced taste-wise. The cake balls are the same texture as the ice cream so they get lost easily.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Cherry Garcia Greek Frozen Yogurt

Written by | June 9, 2014

Topics: 6 Rating, Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Cherry Garcia Greek Frozen Yogurt

All right, someone at Ben & Jerry’s has got to be screwing with me.

I’m generally down to eat any ice cream. Sure, I’ve got preferences, but if it’s cold and fatty, it’s in my basket. The only thing I might love even more is stuff that’s bad for me that’s also pretending to be healthy. Kashi Granola bars? Sold. Kale chips? Lay ‘em on me. And when Ben & Jerry’s released their Frozen Greek Yogurt line a few years ago? I was all about it.

From there, it was all downhill. First, I stopped being able to find Blueberry Vanilla Graham, my overall favorite, in any of my grocery stores. Then, they had the audacity to insult my hero, Liz Lemon, with a flavor that included LAVENDER. Like, had they ever watched an episode of 30 Rock? Lemon would never consume lavender unless it was in potpourri that she thought was chips.

After years of escalating disappointment, they proceeded to irk me more with their blatant ingredient recycling in their recent core line. So what do they do next? They release a Frozen Greek Yogurt Cherry Garcia. In other words, THEY RELEASE A FROZEN GREEK YOGURT PRODUCT THAT ALREADY FUCKING EXISTS IN A BILLION FORMS?

Maybe I’m just bitter. Sorry. I don’t really have anything against Cherry Garcia, but was it really necessary to release a frozen Greek yogurt version of something I can buy as an ice cream? Or an ice cream bar? Or a NON-GREEK frozen yogurt? I think not, but I’ll try not to let my bitterness influence my review too much.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Cherry Garcia Greek Frozen Yogurt Nutrition

I did feel it was necessary to compare the Greek Cherry Garcia to the regular fro-yo that’s been on shelves. Maybe then I could spot some noticeable differences between the products that would justify this release. I figured there would be some substantial caloric differences between the products, right? Nope. Okay, well then the Greek Cherry Garcia would have to have to be high protein so that would make sense… oh I’m sorry? The Greek product has less protein? I’m done trying.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Cherry Garcia Greek Frozen Yogurt Comparison

In a taste comparison, although I hate to admit it, I did prefer the Greek Cherry Garcia version. A lot of this may have been pint bias, as my Greek pint was far more generous with the cherry and fudge chunks than the original fro-yo. While I would usually be guilty of picking out all the chocolate mix-ins and leaving the rest, I found myself really enjoying the cherry pieces and hunting for those instead. Mix-in wise, there is zero that differentiates this from any other Cherry Garcia you’ve had before.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I thought the slight tanginess of the Greek base melded really well with the natural tartness of the cherry flavor. This base also softened up faster to a creamier and lighter consistency with a more pleasant mouthfeel. Or I subconsciously fabricated that thought just so I could use the word “mouthfeel” and sound like a real reviewer.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Cherry Garcia Greek Frozen Yogurt Top

Once again, my issue with Ben and Jerry’s comes down not to product quality, but product choice. This was a good dessert, but I can’t say that the slight difference in the Greek Cherry Garcia required an entirely new product. Could they not have reformulated the original fro-yo to the Greek version and given us a new fro-yo? Or done SOMETHING besides release a fourth iteration of a flavor?

In the words of product muse Jerry Garcia, “constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” These unimaginative releases, albeit tasty, are still an evil. I beg you, Ben & Jerry’s, please start choosing good.

(Editor’s Note: In case you’re wondering why the regular frozen yogurt version has more than the Greek version, the Consumerist decided to find out after reading this review.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 200 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Cherry Garcia Greek Frozen Yogurt
Purchased Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tangy Greek Yogurt and tart cherries work well together. Still a good quality product. Hitting the mix-in jackpot in your pint. Fake health halos. Jerry Garcia quotes. Mouthfeels. Mouthfeels. Mouthfeels. Sorry, I just really like that word.
Cons: Less protein than non-Greek yogurt? This already exists in a billion other forms. Thinking that someone at B&Js gets sick sadistic pleasure out of breaking my ice cream loving heart with these endless rehashings. Choosing evil.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s That’s My Jam Core Ice Cream

Written by | May 1, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's That's My Jam Core Ice Cream

When I go out to the bar there always comes a time when I cross from the buzzed threshold into the shitfaced one. One of the first things I do when this state is achieved is go play a song or two on those digital jukeboxes. I like to loudly proclaim, “That’s my Jam!” and usually follow it up a Ric Flair-esque “Woo!” when the tune starts to play.

I had one of these moments this past weekend when I played Rush in the bar, although it was kind of an awkward moment. Well, awkward 20 minutes. Living in a small Midwest town where the bar folk listen to only country or rap, you get more than a few angry looks when you play “2112” in its entirety, and then, like an idiot, admit out loud it was you who played it.

After eating Ben & Jerry’s That’s My Jam, one of the recent additions in the Core line, I would say That’s My Jam is definitely worthy of being my jam.

The concoction features chocolate ice cream, raspberry ice cream, fudge chips, and a raspberry core that is basically just really thick raspberry jam. So literally, it is YOUR jam once you buy it.

Okay, I’m going to try not to say “jam” for the rest of the review now. I think I already broke some sort of record.

Ben & Jerry's That's My Jam Core Ice Cream Top

I was rather excited to try this because of the raspberry ice cream, a flavor rarity in Ben and Jerry’s. The raspberry flavor is subtle but not too subtle. It’s not going to give your taste buds a Ric Flair chop. More like a high-five. And instead of his normal “woo!” it would be more of the “woo” you do when you see a really awesome (whatever item you most currently desire) in a display window. It has a light and refreshing flavor.

The chocolate ice cream is the same you’d get in any other Ben & Jerry’s, which means it’s fantastic. The raspberry core is undoubtedly the best part. As I said earlier it’s almost like a really thick ja…. oh nuts, I can’t say that word anymore. Need to make up a new word fast. Umm… jimjum? Deal! So the core is almost like a thick raspberry jimjum and it gels perfectly with the ice creams.

Ben & Jerry's That's My Jam Core Ice Cream Spoon

I was worried it would be raspberry overkill since one of the ice creams is raspberry but the core is on a different level of the raspberry flavor spectrum and the flavors are noticeably different.

If you found for some reason you didn’t like the ice creams you could easily take out the core and spread it on toast. That’s how thick it is. And who doesn’t like a good jimjum on their toast?

The one issue I had was that the core looks like it’s nice and big at the top of the pint but in reality it is like an hourglass; Wider at the ends and skinnier in the middle. It was basically quarter-sized on top, shrunk to penny-sized in the middle and then went back to quarter-size towards the bottom.

I have had all the other Core flavors and I really didn’t have this issue with any of them. They all had better core circumference consistency (CCC) than That’s My Jam did.

When the core is the best part of the ice cream, CCC is really important and when the core shrunk for a bit my feelings were hurt a little bit. The size-changing core wasn’t an anomaly either as I actually ate two pints of this just to see if it was like that in all of them.

Despite this, I still found the ice cream to be pretty good, and I’d definitely have it again.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 260 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s That’s My Jam Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $3.89
Size: One pint
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Flavors come together in perfect harmony. “2112.” Jimjum.
Cons: Diminishing core causes lost flavor opportunities. Small town jukebox awkwardness.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream

Written by | April 3, 2014

Topics: 10 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream

Well, it was horrible. Unapologetically awful.

Look, I considered phrasing it more gently, and maybe trying to focus on at least one positive, but the truth is that there is nothing redeemable about Ben & Jerry’s new Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream. If you see it at your local supermarket, find somewhere else to shop, permanently. If you stumble upon an advertisement for it while reading one of those savings catalogs from CVS that got sent to your house, do yourself a solid and change your address. Whatever you do, just stay as far away from Hazed & Confused as possible.

Look, I know I am a junk food reviewer and all, but I gotta be honest. Considering how this is legitimately going to be a 0/10, you might as well stop reading right here. Trust me, if this wasn’t my job, I wouldn’t still be lingering on the dreadful, unappealing taste of Hazed & Confused Ice Cream. Seriously, this isn’t a joke, it’s all right, just move along with your day.

Ben & Jerry's Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream Top

Now it’s time to get down to the dirty stuff. The first thing I hated about Hazed & Confused was how absolutely terrible it looked. I mean come on Ben & Jerry’s you can at least try to make it look appeali… yo, you still there? If you’re still reading this now, you’re welcome.

You see, I have a plan, a beautiful plan, to scare away everyone I know from the divine taste of Ben & Jerry’s Hazed & Confused. Why then am I letting you in on my secret? Well, the truth is–my fellow co-conspirators–that Hazed & Confused is downright amazing. It’s not even a flavor as much as it is an interstellar experience. It is as close as you or I will ever get to the moon. Indulging in it is the kind of transformative, mind-blowing experience that if left unshared would likely build up in my psyche and manifest itself in some weird psychological issues down the road. It’s that crazy good. And, before you question the infallible logic of my plan itself, let me tell you why.

Ben & Jerry's Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream Spoon

First reason, two words: Nutella. Oh, that’s only one word you say? That’s because you didn’t let me finish. Nutella-Tube. Thats right folks, smack dab in the middle of Ben & Jerry’s consistently fantastic ice cream is a cylindrical mass of fucking Nutella. Except hold the phone, this isn’t even really Nutella; it’s better. Imagine the lovechild created if everyone’s favorite hazelnut spread got freaky with a can of Betty Crocker dark chocolate frosting. Just sit there and think about that.

But, like any 8th grade orchestra, having one standout simply isn’t enough (even if he can play the whole Pirates of the Caribbean theme on cello). Surrounding the decadence of its titular Core, Hazed & Confused brings it with a back-to-back punch of their signature chocolate ice cream and their new-kid-on-the-block hazelnut. Combined with the added touch of ubiquitous fudge chips the two rich flavors provide a nice give and take of extra chocolaty or extra hazlenutty flavor, making each spoonful unique. What is so great about Hazed & Confused is that it all just seems to work.

Also, I don’t know whose idea it was to name this ice cream Hazed & Confused, but the likely nod to the 1993 cult classic Dazed and Confused perhaps sheds a little light onto how Ben & Jerry’s comes up with the inspiration for such wacky and delicious ice cream concoctions. Going on the list with previous flavors such as Cherry Garcia (named after Grateful Dead front man Jerry Garcia) and Half Baked (for obvious reasons)–if the company’s signature tie-dye t-shirts weren’t a dead give away–Hazed & Confused provides further evidence that Ben and Jerry might have been more than a little familiar with the ol’ devil’s lettuce, and the munchies that inevitably ensue. Maybe this will make you feel better about getting stoned and eating an entire tub, who knows.

I am going to end with a quick exam. I just need everyone to look down at their hands. They’re empty, right? Now wait two hours and then look again. If you aren’t clutching a frosty pint of Hazed and Confused in one hand, and a giant-ass spoon in the other, you failed. Get to it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 280 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 8% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 10% iron.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Hazed & Confused Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: The definition of a 10/10 product. The hazelnut core is maybe the best thing I have tasted in, like, 5 years. It’s Ben & Jerry’s so the ice cream itself is top notch. I would likely buy a store’s worth if I had the money.
Cons: Other people somewhere are probably enjoying it right now and I am just on this computer. I wish eating an entire tub wasn’t a 200% daily value hit of saturated fat.

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