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

Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Almond Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Almond is an exclusive Safeway flavor (plus its sister stores) and, to be honest, it’s not a particularly exciting exclusive flavor.

While Walmart gets Cotton Candy, Confetti Cake, and another flavor that probably starts with the letter C, and Target gets Blonde Ambition, Berry Voluntary, and another flavor that probably starts with the letter B, Safeway stores get a safe flavor with a safe name, which I guess is appropriate for a chain called Safeway.

The safe flavor features safe vanilla bean ice cream with safe roasted almond slivers, safe fudge flakes, and a safe salted caramel swirl.

The vanilla bean ice cream is a solid base, it’s creamy, has a pleasant vanilla flavor, and there are vanilla bean specks. Although those could be tiny bits of the fudge flakes, which taste like the fudge flakes we all know and love from the dozen or so other flavors that have them.

As for the roasted almond slivers, they’re less like whole cross-sections of the nut and more like whole cross-section of the nut smashed into pieces by a hammer. Their flavor isn’t too noticeable while eating the ice cream, but very noticeable as they stick to the nooks and crannies of your molars after the rest of the ice cream has gone down your esophagus. The salted caramel swirl has a saltiness that’s stronger when I lick my lips while eating the ice cream than when the ice cream is in my mouth.

Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Almond Ice Cream 2

There’s almost enough of each ingredient that you can get a bit of everything in every spoonful. With each scoop it’s a textural orchestra of gooey, creamy, snappy, and crunchy and a flavor orchestra of buttery, sweet, salty, and nutty. It’s like eating the top of a Nestle Drumstick beaten with a better ingredient stick.

It’s hard to go wrong with the combination of vanilla ice cream, chocolate, caramel, and nuts. It’s like combining rainbows, glitter, and a unicorn. With either of those combos, you know you’re going to have a good time. And while I had fun with Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Almond Ice Cream, it wasn’t too exciting and tasted like something I’ve had before.

It was a safe fun, like hitting a piñata with a foam bat, without a blindfold, and doing it in the virtual world with VR goggles.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 290 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 26 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: It’s like eating the top of a Nestle Drumstick that’s been beaten with a better ingredient stick. Safe flavor; it’s not weird or offensive. Lots of different flavors and textures.
Cons: Safe flavor; not as exciting as exclusive flavors at Walmart and Target. Almond slivers are almond bits. Fudge flakes seem to be in EVERYTHING.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Coconuts for Caramel Core Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Coconuts for Caramel Core Ice Cream

Perusing through the frozen foods section of a grocery store – specifically the ice cream section – is a joyous activity indeed, yet sometimes it can be overwhelming. Like, for example, when you see Ben & Jerry’s just dropped not one, not two, but three new flavors on you, and you’re presented with a conundrum: which flavor is right for me? Then you have to look deep inside yourself and do a quick cavity search on your soul to come to a decision.

I settled for Coconuts for Caramel, one of the most recent additions to the ever-expanding Core line. Well, I wouldn’t call it settling. It sounded scrump, and my older brother did send me a text along the lines of, “OMG YOU MUST TRY COCONUTS FOR CARAMEL IT IS SO GOOD (SNOWMAN EMOJI)” So, it was a pretty easy choice. Wait, why snowman emoji? There are like, three different ice cream ones.

So you probably guessed the ice cream contains coconut and caramel. I hope you did, otherwise you’ll never be a detective. A core of gooey caramel sits in the middle, surrounded by sweet cream coconut and caramel ice creams. Yes, it’s a much less obvious concoction than the early Core entries the flavor team probably spent all of five minutes on – Peanut Butter Fudge Core, ahem – so that’s pretty neat. Good to see them continuing in a less played out direction.

The caramel side of things is amazing. The core is real rich, resembling caramel you’d normally find residing in a truffle. The caramel ice cream is more mellowed down than the core. The flavor reminds me of a caramel macchiato. If you scoop it along with the core, which you will, it’s like collecting a caramel power up in a Super Mario game. Or going down a random pipe and collecting caramel coins? You get the idea. Either way, yes.

The sweet cream coconut ice cream can complicate matters a bit. It has so much coconut in it, plus chocolate chips, I had trouble discerning the taste of the actual ice cream. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack that is made out of the filling in a Mounds bar. It can get frustrating. Much like watching the slow, clueless contestants on the old game show Supermarket Sweep. It’s like, “come on, go get the Farmer John Hams!” But no! They’re dilly-dallying in the personal care aisle.

Ben & Jerry's Coconuts for Caramel Core Ice Cream 2

Ben & Jerry’s is famous for having lots of mix-ins in their ice cream – they used to have a fan club called “Chunk Spelunkers,” which is sadly now defunct – but this was coconut overkill. The texture is not like normal ice cream, it’s more gritty than creamy, and was tough to eat on its own.

Your best bet is to combine the two ice creams together and scoop out some of the caramel core in the same bite. This is where the pint is money. The caramel from the core and the creamy caramel ice cream cover up the overabundance of fillings in the coconut ice cream and combines into something like a caramel covered Mounds bar.

It would have worked better if the chocolate chips were in the caramel ice cream and there was half the amount of coconut. That may just have balanced things out. Plus, caramel has to be lonely over there. Sweet cream coconut has ice cream and two fillings. That’s not fair at all. Why does the coconut side get everything?

Another minor issue I had was the core basically disappeared towards the bottom quarter of the pint, which I have pointed out in other Core flavors. I wish they would get the cores to reach the bottom more consistently. But not everything can be perfect.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 280 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Wegman’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Sweet, different caramel flavors. Snowman emojis. Going down pipes and collecting things.
Cons: Coconut overkill. Bad texture for ice cream. Awful “Supermarket Sweep” contestants.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core Ice Cream

Ben and Jerry are game changers.

As far as the most innovative people of the last 200 years goes, I’d rank them fourth behind the guy Edison stole his ideas from, the inventor of basketball’s three point line, and Tony Stark. Also, I have Ben just behind Mr. Franklin in the “Best Ben’s” category, and Jerry tied for first with Seinfeld.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical when I first heard of Ben & Jerry’s Core ice cream line. They already had plenty of choices on the market. I just assumed they were repackaging old flavors with a shiny new gimmick.

For the very first time in my life, I was wrong.

Enter Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core Ice Cream.

Sure Ben and Jerry messed around with a cheesecake flavor in the past, but not like this.

The base ice cream flavors here are chocolate and cheesecake. Chocolate is, well, chocolate. Don’t expect them to reinvent the wheel there. The cheesecake ice cream wasn’t really all that strong either. If I didn’t know, I would have said it was just vanilla. It was subtle, almost giving off a malt flavor, but I think that was intentionally done to not overpower the star of the show – the core.

It’s perfect.

Ben & Jerry's Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core Ice Cream 2

I think cheesecakes are one of those foods that are either incredibly delicious or downright boring. There’s no in-between. No core, if you will. For me, the sign of a good piece of cheesecake is when I don’t even remember it’s actually a cheese-based dessert. That’s what you get here. It’s perfectly sweet without being cloying like a lot of Cheesecake Factory’s fare. The soft texture was exactly what it should be. It gets cold, but not quite as cold as the ice cream surrounding it, so there’s a nice difference in flavor and texture. I would have thought cheesecake à la mode would be overkill, but now it’s all I want.

That’s not to say this concoction is perfect. The chocolate cookie pieces, while necessary to make a “cookies and cream” ice cream, brought little to the table. They tasted more like brownie pieces and were somehow dry despite being speckled in ice cream. I would have liked it if they went a little wackier with it. Perhaps a play on a chocolate chippy topping may have suited this better, but that’s just a nitpick.

Ben & Jerry's Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core Ice Cream 3

Cutting the carton in half results in something that looks like a delicious seismic chart. The core and the cheesecake ice cream are kind of indistinguishable in color, so any time I tasted the core it was a pleasant surprise.

So while it was basically a normal swirl ice cream with boring cookie pieces, the core was so damn good. I kind of understood Ben & Jerry’s choice to go that route. This flavor is a one ingredient CORE-de-force. Eh? Right?

That being said, I did get the urge to buy this flavor again and perform ice cream Frankenstein surgery. I want to de-core it and swap it into various other Ben & Jerry’s varieties. Imagine the possibilities! Phish Food with a cheesecake core. Chubby Hubby with a cheesecake core. Americone Dream with a…oh, who am I kidding, I’m far too lazy to do this.

I’ll just stick with their Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core as an enCORE. Eh? Right?

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 270 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugars, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Perfect cheesecake core. Nothing wrong with a swirl. Good balance of ingredients. Game changers. Cheesecake à la mode. Steph Curry from downtown. Puns.
Cons: Uninspired cookie pieces. Destroying the package and forcing yourself to eat the entire thing in one sitting. Thomas Edison is a thief. Puns.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream

I’m not much of a crier. Aside from a few moments scattered throughout the TV series Lost and Tom Hanks losing Wilson to the ocean in Castaway, I pretty much have a heart of stone. But a little bit of that stone was chiseled away when I ate Ben & Jerry’s latest pint, Candy Bar Pie, and the tears came in waterfall fashion.

If you’re wondering why I was crying, it’s for two reasons. The first being the ice cream was just so damn perfect. Rich peanut butter ice cream loaded with nougat, chocolate flakes, and perhaps the greatest ice cream filler ever, pretzel swirls.

Yes, pretzel swirls are real, and they’re fantastic. More salty-sweet goodness than even the most experienced veteran could wrap their taste buds around. Those with lesser developed taste buds should only take small bites of the pretzel swirls at first, as it will be a lot for your buds to handle, and if you take too much too fast your head will most likely explode.

Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream Top

The nougat is pretty much like a Swiss chocolate sauce, which is just chocolate syrup and marshmallow sauce mixed together. When it blends with the peanut butter ice cream it tastes almost like a fluffernutter sandwich. Then you throw the pretzel swirl into the mix and you get even more great taste combos. This ice cream is much like a Take 5 candy bar; it has everything you could want and it tastes even better than it sounds.

I’ve been indulging on Ben & Jerry’s for three-quarters of my life, and honestly, I’m torn between this and the original Chubby Hubby (the one that had chocolate covered peanut butter-filled pretzels, where the one today is just has chocolate covered pretzels) for my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor. I ate three pints of Candy Bar Pie in one week. I just couldn’t get enough. I was in love! Maybe there is still hope for my heart of stone?

No, there isn’t hope, because my love will be leaving me eventually, departing from her pint form and going back exclusively to Scoop Shops. See, it’s a limited batch, which means it will one day leave grocery stores, and subsequently my hopes and dreams will leave me.

I know it is originally a Scoop Shop flavor but can’t they keep it in a pint in stores? Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops aren’t all that common. Take Rochester, where I grew up. There is one Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in the city. It isn’t at some centrally located spot either, so chances are you have a decent drive to it. I haven’t been to every major city but the ones I’ve been to have the same deal. And what about the rural areas? There are no Scoop Shops in the rural Midwest, I can tell you that with confidence.

Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream Closeup

There is usually good grocery store access in most places though. Whether it’s Wegmans, Piggly Wiggly, Hy-Vee, Publix or Stater Bros., it doesn’t matter. There’s usually something near you no matter your region. If Candy bar Pie stays in pints, it could potentially save people from a long drive to a Scoop Shop, and save people in rural areas who don’t have access to a Scoop Shop from losing access to the tasty treat altogether.

I mean, imagine if seasons of Lost and every good Tom Hanks movie were just taken off shelves a month after they were released. You’d be sad, angry, or most likely both when you went to go DVD shopping and the titles you wanted were gone forever. It wouldn’t just be a bummer… It would be a SUPER bummer. The worst kind!

Much awareness has been brought to ALS through these ice bucket challenges (which, let’s be honest, unless you’re the Wicked Witch of the West or the Human Torch, really isn’t much of a challenge), so I propose a Candy Bar Pie pint challenge.

The way it works is simple: You film yourself eating a full pint of Candy Bar Pie in one sitting, and then you challenge your friends to do the same thing. They have 24 hours to respond, and if they fail to do so they owe you 100 bucks. Once the oligarchic board of decision makers at Ben & Jerry’s sees how much everybody loves the flavor, they will sprout a collective conscience and make it a permanent pint. So get your pints, spoons and cameras ready, everyone. We’ve got work to do.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 300 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams total fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 210 milligrams sodium, 31 grams total carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 22 grams sugar, and 5 grams protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Candy Bar Pie Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: One of the best tasting Ben & Jerry’s concoctions ever. Pretzel swirls will make you believe in unicorns again. Raising Candy Bar Pie awareness. Saving yourself a few minutes of driving.
Cons: Limited batch oh why God why!? Evil oligarchies having control of flavor decisions. Having a heart of stone. Wilson being lost to the ocean.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch 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.

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

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.