Tuesday, April 16, 2013

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry's Nutty Caramel Swirl (7-Eleven Exclusive)


This past February, I had a reader email us after discovering the latest collaboration between Ben & Jerry’s and the 7-Eleven convenience store chain. Much like they did with the exclusive Bananas Foster flavor from Haagen-Dazs, Nutty Caramel Swirl is only available in one of their 8,000+ locations across the United States. The nearest 7-Eleven to my current location is about a two-hour drive, so the last time I was passing through the area I made sure to pack a cooler and some ice in order to snag a pint of this hard-to-find ice cream. Although the description doesn’t indicate any real inspiration, perhaps the combination of nougat ice cream with peanuts, fudge flakes & a salty caramel swirl is intended to impersonate a candy bar you’d find stocked on their shelves.


If you’re in search for food in the aisles of a 7-Eleven, you probably aren’t too concerned with calories; but the 310 calories per serving isn’t ideal for those trying to watch their weight. The first layer of Nutty Caramel Swirl comes off beige in color and shows a high concentration of the peanuts, fudge and caramel. Scooping out the base is not only difficult due to the usual dense consistency of Ben & Jerry's, but also because of the high amount of mix-ins. The nougat ice cream is mild enough that I’m not sure I’d be able to positively identify the flavoring as nougat in a blind taste test, yet still sweet enough to offset the salty components to come. This provides a capable foundation and an acceptable switch-up from their standard chocolate or vanilla. Acting as the inside of a candy bar, the chocolate chunks, salty caramel swirl and peanuts are plentiful from the top of this pint to the bottom.


The lightly roasted peanuts are small, soft and collapse without much effort; which provides a salty contrast to the nougat ice cream. The chocolate chips are much smaller than the typical bars found in flavors like Cherry Garcia or Chunky Monkey and bring about a much more pleasant experience. These fast-melting fragments take on the role of the outer coating of a typical candy bar and adds a certain richness to the overall flavor profile. The salty caramel swirl acts as the final ingredient and provides the last burst of salt and sugar to effectively round out this flavor. After the ice cream has all melted away, you're left with a mouth full of chocolate and peanuts that require chewing to finish off; resulting is perhaps the most accurate candy bar based ice cream available. Too bad this particular pint is confined to the freezers of a convenient store because it deserves to be enjoyed by everyone.


Where I Found It: 7-11
Grade: A

1 comment:

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