Blinking sleepily, stupidly at the gate, it took a full ten minutes for the meaning of the digital scrawl to sink in. My cross-country, red-eye flight had been further delayed, now rescheduled to depart sometime in the predawn hour of 2AM. A punishing schedule already awaited me upon arrival, complete with a second plane to catch and events lined up from the moment the wheels hit the tarmac. For all this tumult, I would only be in Burlington, Vermont for a two days all told. What on earth could possible be worth that kind of suffering?
Ice cream. And not just any ice cream, but Ben & Jerry’s new 100% vegan line of almond milk frozen desserts. It’s the one food news story that the whole world is buzzing about lately, omnivorous or otherwise, and I was given the rare opportunity to see the birthplace of this extraordinary creation.
Though the dead of winter would be my last choice for when to visit this picturesque east coast town, the white carpet of snow and cozy blanket of clouds were not without their charms. If only I had an extra day, or perhaps even an extra hour, I would have loved to explore the myriad vegan restaurants just around the corner, but I was here on a bigger mission.
Along with a select group of exclusive, top drawer food bloggers, I was treated to an incredible adventure in the Ben & Jerry’s factory and test kitchen. Our main objective, of course, was to get the goods on the buzz-worthy new pints, developed both for the sake of hungry customers demanding dairy-free options, and to decrease the deleterious environmental impact that goes along with milk production. It was made very clear that these four initial flavors are only the beginning of that pursuit. Although it took 3 years and between 70 – 90 trials in development, there are promising hints that pending the success of this launch, we may eventually have even more flavors tempting us on store shelves.
Delicious and ambrosial as the tasting session was, my highlight of the trip was getting the opportunity to play around with the almond milk base to fabricate a “limited edition” frozen dessert. So exclusive that you will never see it in production, it was still a joy to mix up a big batch of the creamy concoction with any and all the chunky mix-ins my heart desired. Working in teams, my group was responsible for unleashing the “Drunk’n Pumpk’n Pie” upon the party, complete with toasted marshmallows, graham cracker crust pieces, and a generous splash of bourbon. Each spoonful had a whole lot of spirit, but alas, it was no match for the truly superlative “Southern Roots” dreamed up by the competition.
Ben & Jerry’s, if you’re listening: Please put this one on the official line up! Outrageously thick ribbons of caramel swirled through every square inch of the creamy peach bourbon jam base with a hint of cinnamon, intertwining with crunchy chunks of toasted pecans. Within our small, secret sampling society, this creative and unabashedly indulgent mix was a hands-down winner.
But… What about the REAL dairy-free offerings now hitting grocery store shelves and scoop shops nationwide, you ask?
For the full scoop on the flavors themselves and my personal tasting notes, head over to my official review here.
This post was is sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s, but all content and opinions are entirely my own.
20 thoughts on “Ben & Jerry’s – The Inside Scoop”
Ow wow,what a delicious experience!
I can’t think of anyone more qualified to taste or create ice cream!
I meant to say, “taste test!”
Hannah, the juicy pictures you paint with words, (“crunchy chunky”, “Delicious and ambrosial”), delighted me as if I had a bowl of ice cream right in front of me! You are a dreamy concoction of talent, intelligence, passion and beauty…all packaged in pint sized perfection!
Thank you for such a sweet comment! It’s wonderful to hear from you, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you can find the ice cream out in paradise soon to try it yourself!
How much fun! Those pictures are just …. YUM! You really have a way with words and photos.
Yum! Delish! And as always, sweet Hannah, you write like a dream. Big hugs from me and Stewie!
Huge hugs back to both of you! I’ve been missing Austin quite a bit lately and toying with the idea of a quick visit… I heard that Bistro Vonish moved, which is both good and bad news. Further from you, but to a bigger space. Have you been yet?
You poor thing, having to do all this. :-) Thanks for sharing the no-cal photos, too.
Oh, it really is a rough gig, but I figured I should take one for the team this time. ;) I’m just happy you could enjoy the results, too!
Awww, that was so brave of you, Hannah. We appreciate it. :-)
Dear Hannah, wonderfully delicious thank you, I hope you are well my friend xx
How wonderful that you had this opportunity! Those flavors look so good!
What an amazing opportunity, thanks for sharing! All the flavors look great and I’m looking forward to tasting the rest of the dairy free options.
So glad the trip was worth it! And they really should hire you to help come up with new flavors Hannah – they probably have no idea how creative you are!
I cannot wait until I can find these in a store. The peach and caramel combo sounds like I’d die and go to heaven. I LOVE caramel. Maybe they’ll add a caramel option.
Lucky lucky lucky!! I hope you had a bite for me! :)
These look delicious! I’m curious to try them- especially to see if the add ins (like caramel) are as good as the non-vegan versions. Great post!
Let me tell you, the caramel and brownies are the two best parts of these pints!