Recently, most new flavors from Vermont’s most famous company have been Topped, Core’d, or brought back from the dead. But Ben & Jerry’s latest was inspired by one of the company’s all-time successes: cherries. While this pint has some major differences from Cherry Garcia, B&J’s second highest selling pint for eight years running, it will no doubt garner interest from folks who enjoy the Grateful Dead-inspired classic. Cherry Crumble switches up the formula from the brand’s more recent decadent offerings and pairs buttery ice cream with cherries and swirls of oat crumble.
I was intrigued by this pint because the container wasn’t screaming at me with mix-ins and because the base was something I don’t recall ever seeing. Described simply as “buttery,” a word often used to denote that something will be delicious, I needed to know how it tastes. Good news: it’s freakin’ awesome. Bad news: it’s kind of hard to describe. Middle news: I’m going to try!
The base is rich and decadent in a way I don’t recall ever experiencing from B&J’s sweet cream, which is probably its closest equivalent, but far superior. It has a heavy and luscious mouthfeel with buttery notes, but not nutty like browned butter, more of a clean and deep flavorful sensation, like unsalted butter and sugar on white bread. Like I said, it’s hard to describe, but it’s wonderful and has a density that screams super premium. It’s a really great, nuanced ice cream.
The cherries are also well executed. There are plenty, and they pop with a lovely bright sweetness and touch of acidity. More importantly, they do so with zero iciness. They provide the perfect balance of sugary and tartness against the rich buttery base. A jam or pie filling swirl might be more faithful to the concept of a crumble, but I enjoy the squishy flavorful chunks of fruit. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older, but I’ve been having a serious cherry renaissance in the last two years, and I love this simple old-timey mix-in.
The oat crumble is where this pint could use some improvement. I still really enjoy it, but it reminds me much more of a cinnamon-y graham cracker swirl than a chunky oat crumble. When I read “crumble,” I instantly think of a crunchy, buttery, and salty topping that erupts with flavor, and while this swirl is good, it doesn’t deliver on the punchiness or texture I’m looking for. It has some pleasant grittiness with a touch of spice but no butteriness that can compete with the fantastic base.
While this pint falls a bit short in flawlessly executing a cherry crumble a la mode, it’s a very scoopable flavor that should be in anyone’s cart who enjoys a fruit-driven profile with a rich, buttery foundation.
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup/140 grams) 350 calories, 21 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 35 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein.