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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: Häagen-Dazs Pistachio Gelato

Written by | April 7, 2014

Topics: 10 Rating, Haagen Dazs, Ice Cream

Ha?agen-Dazs Pistachio Gelato

There are many great mysteries in the universe. Like has anybody ever really killed two birds with one stone? Who’s the brilliant mind behind the cookie cake? If everything King Midas touches turns to gold, can he… you know… touch himself? Surely I’m not the only one who ponders these questions on a daily basis. Here’s another one of those mysteries: is gelato any good from a container?

Before I moved to Missouri, I lived directly across the street from an Italian café, which served the most foodgasm-inducing gelato I’d ever eaten. There were so many flavor options to choose from, it made every trip an adventure because you never knew what you’d walk out of there with.

Now that the authentic gelato is no longer across the street – and as far as I can tell nowhere to be had here – I knew it was time to do some investigating of my own into the store-bought gelatos. I got in the car and made the ever-joyous weekly trip to Walmart. And that’s not sarcasm. I literally live in the middle of nowhere, and going to Walmart passes for fun around these parts.

While perusing the ice cream aisle, I found Häagen-Dazs had a new line of gelatos, and the flavor debate began to rage in my noggin. Pomegranate swirl? No. Caramelized banana chip? Interesting, but wasn’t in a banana mood. Pistachio? PISTACHIO! Yes, this was the one. Even the Walmart cashier knew it was the one, as before she put it in the bag she took a gander at it and said, “Mmm, now that looks good.” Indeed it does, Walmart cashier. Indeed it does.

Upon arriving home, I put the gelato in the freezer and prepared to set the mood for the occasion. I tucked the corners of my love seat cover in so it looked nice and neat, cleaned the clutter from my coffee table, put some Miles Davis on and got into my jammies. Yes, I call them jammies.

Ha?agen-Dazs Pistachio Gelato Top

After retrieving the gelato from it’s frozen prison, I popped it’s top – tee hee – and gave it a look over. It’s a darker green than pistachio ice creams are, and it had little black specks in it, kind of like a vanilla bean flavor would. I buried the cold steel of my spoon in and took a bite.

HO. LEE. CRAP.

The gelato was light and uber-creamy like authentic gelato, and it tasted like a real pistachio without having actual pistachios inside of it. This is an advantage because as anyone who’s eaten pistachio ice cream knows, you get a rotten pistachio every once in a while and it is one of the vilest tastes you’ll encounter.

The gelato is sweet tasting like pistachio ice cream, but you also get that roasted pistachio taste, something I hadn’t encountered in a frozen pistachio delicacy before. It has a high fat content, but you couldn’t tell unless you looked at the nutrition facts because it’s just so damn light and airy. The only element it was missing was the saltiness a real pistachio has. Curious, I put a little bit of salt on a spoonful.

Ha?agen-Dazs Pistachio Gelato Spoon

It would be impossible for a word or two to describe just how good this bite was, so I will attempt to do so with the following story that may or may not be true. I’ll leave it to you to decide.

After taking the bite, I blacked out. I awoke some time later to a knock on my door. I wondered who it could be as my building has a buzz-in system. My hot neighbor finally giving into my offer of drinking and yelling at my fantasy baseball team with me? I opened the door to reveal a six-foot tall pistachio. I first thought this some odd Trojan horse attempt of my hot neighbor to make it inside my apartment, and I said “if you wanted to come watch fantasy scores with me, you just had to ask.” But this was not my hot neighbor. It was a talking pistachio. And not just any pistachio either. It was the Pistachio King!

He said he was summoned here when I achieved pistachio bliss after putting salt on the gelato. I had uncovered the key to ultimate pistachio power. Basically, I unlocked the Super Saiyan 4 level of pistachio flavor.

The king and I hit it off instantly. It was like we were best friends in a past lifetime. He brought a 24-pack of my favorite beer, Sam Adams Coldsnap, and even laughed at my lame “that’s a Coldsnap, baby” line, a play off of SRV’s “Coldshot.” We put back bottle after bottle and collectively yelled at my fantasy baseball team. Once the games were done for the night, I asked Pistachio King if he wanted to watch me play Kingdom Hearts, and without hesitation he said yes! It’s not even a two-player game, but he didn’t care, he just continued to drink and cheer me on.

At one point Pistachio King asked if I wanted “some of that good shit,” and pulled out a baggie filled with a white crystal-like substance inside. I said “Pistachio King, I don’t do that,” but he said “don’t worry, it’s only salt!” We had a good laugh, and then I put some of the salt on the gelato and took a bite. Everything started spinning, and I again blacked out.

When I awoke, Pistachio King was gone and the gelato container was empty. Probably just a dream. But wait, why are there pistachio shells on the floor? Hmm… Well, at least the gelato from a container mystery was solved.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 4% iron.)

Item: Häagen-Dazs Pistachio Gelato
Purchased Price: $3.89
Size: 14 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: As good as legit Italian gelato. Incredible real pistachio flavor. Adding a bit of salt brings out-of-body experience. Kickin’ it with Pistachio King.
Cons: High fat content. Container’s not a full pint. Hot neighbor still doesn’t want to drink and yell at my fantasy baseball team with me. King Midas mystery remains unsolved.

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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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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream

Written by | March 10, 2014

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

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream

I had the most emotional experience a few years ago when my parents took me up to the northeast to drop me off at college. It was heart wrenching. Painful. Soul crushing. Never have so many tears been shed.

We took a tour of the Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard.

Here, I witnessed all the good things in life I would never be able to know. Dozens of incredible ice creams who all died too young. Rainforest Crunch? Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road? Why did we turn our backs on remarkable ingredients like cashew-brazil nut buttercrunch and peanut butter cookie dough? So Pistachio Pistachio could keep its spot in the freezers? I couldn’t handle it. The world wasn’t the same without these. The inimitable lost ice creams needed to be revived.

The new line of “core” flavors is actually a resurrection of sorts. The concept first appeared back in 2002, and Karamel Sutra has been on shelves since. However, I can’t say this was the resurrection I was hoping for. For the most part, all of the new flavors are just recycling components already found in other pints. There’s very little ingredient innovation going on here. These pints are basically the same as when Taco Bell announces some new rehashing of tortilla, ground beef, and cheese.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Lid

That being said, there’s nothing that prevents a rehashing from tasting good. Their Salted Caramel Core flavor, a sweet cream ice cream base with blonde brownies and a salted caramel core, seemed to me to be one of the best combinations they could make with their current arsenal. That is, unless they develop an ice cream with a cookie dough core. Flavor gurus, take note.

I was most excited about writing this review for the sole purpose of doing this:

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Core Middle

This cross-section is a work of art. I believe in the industry this is what they refer to as “core-core porn.” Regardless of the practicality of the core, I will admit that this is beautiful. So if you’re the kind of person who regularly likes to take out your aggression on a pint with a 10 inch blade, this might be the flavor for you.

The biggest issue at hand here is core mixing: how to get that center pocket distributed into every bite. I feared that I would run into the same issue that I do with cupcakes, where you get a few really great bites of heavy frosting and then are left with a lot of dry mediocre cake.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream SPOON

By the time I started eating, the ice cream and caramel were soft enough that I could mix them together on my spoon fairly easily and avoided that problem. However, I’m usually an impatient ice cream consumer who ends up chiseling at a frozen pint, and I can’t see this set up working for me on a normal basis. I also don’t see how this would work well in their fudge core flavors, because while cold caramel still has a certain malleability, cold fudge seems impossible to distribute.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Core Again

The best thing this pint has going for it is that it’s safe from the chunk diggers in your household. The blondie pieces are prevalent, but much smaller than those in Rockin’ Blondies, so they’re impossible to extract on their own. And while it’s technically possible to hollow out the pint and eat nothing but caramel, I can’t see that being a pleasant experience unless you like to lick salt rocks to pass the time. I thought the salted caramel paired well with the sweet cream base, but it’s not a component that can stand alone.

All in all, is this ice cream good? Yes, very. Does it deserve the hype it’s been getting? Probably not. The core does nothing that a great swirl couldn’t, and there’s nothing special about a salted caramel flavor anymore. If Ben and Jerry’s wants to rehash old components, at least bring back the stuff you can’t get from anyone else. Give me cashew-brazil nut buttercrunch, then we’ll talk.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 270 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Co-op Food Stores
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good flavor combination. Gooey caramel. Lots of mix-ins. Chunk digger prevention. Playing with knives.
Cons: Rehashing old ingredients. The horrors of the Flavor Graveyard. Trans fat. Dry cupcakes. Being too impatient to let ice cream soften. Making you work for caramel distribution. Oatmeal Cookie Chunk didn’t deserve to die for this.

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REVIEW: Magnum Infinity Chocolate & Raspberry Ice Cream Bar

Written by | March 3, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Ice Cream, Magnum

Magnum Infinity Chocolate & Raspberry Ice Cream Bars

Sometimes, I wish my tonsils had just been removed. I could be sitting in bed, relaxed and comfortable, looking over at my two freshly removed tonsils floating happily in a small jar while my doctor tells me that the operation went fine. Who cares that I know very little about the entire tonsil removal procedure, or for that matter, the purpose or function of those tiny glands, I just want them out.

I say this because, growing up, everything I knew about this minimally invasive surgical procedure came from stories told by my friends and classmates. From what I could interpret based on recess and bus-ride gossip—overlooking the actual procedure itself—was one very important fact: There would be ice cream. Not just once, or twice as a treat, but all the time. As a little dude, that was all I needed to hear. Sign me up for ice cream nirvana.

Little has changed now that I am a fully formed adult-ish person. My knowledge of tonsil removal remains minimal at best (although a quick Google search put some unwanted images in my head) and, more importantly, my love of ice cream remains unfaltering. For this reason, when the new Magnum Infinity Chocolate & Raspberry Ice Cream Bars finally made their way into my supermarket after being exclusively available in the U.K. since 2012, even with two perfectly intact tonsils, I figured I deserved a treat.

‘Magnum Infinity’ sounds like a new Lexus model or a spaceship, everything about these fancy bars exhume class and distinction. Forget about your plebeian Poland Springs and Dasani, it’s time to grab the Perrier because there is about to be some West Egg new-money shizz going down. And, at the price of $6 for a total of three ice cream bars, you had better feel goddamn fancy.

Magnum Infinity Chocolate & Raspberry Ice Cream Bars Closeup

Delivering on its promises to make you feel sophisticated while cramming in 60 percent of your daily value of saturated fat while watching Cheers on syndication in that t-shirt with the questionable stain (it’s probably just jelly, right?), Magnum Infinity Chocolate and Raspberry Ice Cream Bars deliver in all the best ways.

Each individual bar, although a bit on the smaller side, is coated in a pleasantly rich dark chocolate that is thin enough to leave the main stage for the ice cream itself, but thick enough not to crumble off leaving the rest of bar exposed. Moreover, providing an interesting texture to the dark chocolate outside are what Magnum, for some reason, has decided to call “cocoa bean bibs,” which sound as hilarious and they are delicious.

Magnum Infinity Chocolate & Raspberry Ice Cream Bars Innards

Yet, all the cocoa bean nibs in the world could not save an ice cream bar that didn’t have the actual ice cream to back it up. Luckily, the dark chocolate ice cream at the core of these Magnum Infinity bars certainly does the job. It is dense and almost fudgy, which is just how I like my chocolate ice cream, and the raspberry swirl, though not as visible as the box’s picture might lead you to assume, certainly provides a nice fruity karate kick to the entire bar.

As Target is to Walmart and Staples is to Office Max, compared to the majority of other grocery store ice cream bars, Magnum Infinity is a clear one notch above the rest. And, while I do wish that each bar was a bit larger, it certainly has the quality to justify both its packaging and slightly higher price tag. Now I just need to see about getting myself a bag of those nibs.

Phew… I made it through the entire review without making a single condom joke.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 260 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Magnum Infinity Chocolate & Raspberry Ice Cream Bar
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 3 bars/box
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Nice raspberry flavor and dark chocolate dip. Makes you feel sophisticated. The fact that cocoa bean nibs are a thing. Pretty much nibs in general.
Cons: Small serving size. Pricey.

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