Thursday, April 25, 2013

REVIEW: Phin & Phebes Banana Whama

Recently while browsing the aisles of a local organic food supermarket called Earth Fare, I stumbled upon a school of new selections sitting behind the freezer glass. Nestled in between the assortment of flavors from Jeni’s and Graeter’s, a small number of seemingly hand-designed pints sat peering back. After leaning in for a closer look, I started reading some of the creations currently available from the Brooklyn-born Phin & Phebes Ice Cream. Although it sat surrounded by enticing flavors like Coconut Key Lime, Ginger Cookie Snap, Vanilla Cinnamon and Vietnamese Iced Coffee, my hand instinctively reached for Banana Whama. Banana Pudding based ice creams are among my favorite, but because I’m so fond of them, I’m also overly critical. From fast food to super-premiums, I’ve had them all; but the simple description of banana pudding ice cream with vanilla wafers left me running towards the checkout lanes.

This small-scale operation cranks out five flavors of super-premium, 14% butterfat ice cream; a percentage that shows in the nutrition facts. Banana Whama will set you back 240 calories per serving, but a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the sweet succulence of banana pudding. After taking my first bite of the banana pudding base, I'm taken back by the simplicity of their ice cream and the spot-on taste it achieves. Phin & Phebes have added the ideal dose of pudding flavor to the let you know you aren’t strictly dealing with bananas. Their ice cream manages to retain a fluffy consistency despite its super-premium status; a trait you a rarely see when dealing with ice cream this dense.

The handmade feel surrounding Banana Whama is exemplified even more with the nature of how they’ve incorporated the vanilla wafers. These roughly broken pieces are left near-whole on occasion and really ramp up the authenticity. The big hunks of soft, chewy cookie are thicker than your standard wafer and some of the best I've ever had. Even without a whipped cream component, this has still managed to become my new go-to when I'm looking for a banana-pudding fix. Phin & Phebes are officially in my good graces and I look forward to further exploring their flavors.

Where I Found It: Earth Fare
Grade: A

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