Because I enjoy most foods themed with Pumpkin Spice, I went well out of my way to find Ben & Jerry’s limited batch Pumpkin Cheesecake. After calling multiple Wal-Mart and grocery stores, I found that a Super Wal-Mart around 20 minutes away did sell this flavor. Given the amount of effort put into finding this pint, my expectations soared when it came time to explore this unique creation.
My first glance at the top of the pint revealed a pale orange base with traces of graham cracker swirl. Exactly what I expected. Poised for my first spoonful, the thought that is pint would prove dull, basic, and uneventful seemed very likely. Having recently been spoiled by incredibly rich Chocolate Peppermint Crunch, which is full of swirls and solid mix-ins, my snobbish palate hoped for nothing less satisfying. The result of the first bite: immediate and absolute satisfaction. The base delivered strong pumpkin spice elements, with a remarkably creamy base. The second, third, and fourth bites proved equally satisfying. I didn’t want to stop scooping—a common indicator of a superior pint. While the base didn’t scream “cheesecake”, the unique creaminess of the cheesecake style base definitely won me over. Compared to Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake and Berry Voluntary, this base wins by a modest margin.
Investigating further, the graham swirl increased in prominence, allowing me to fully investigate its properties. I feared and fully expected the swirl to be insignificant; I projected it would merely provide a weak texture contrast. My expectations proved remarkably incorrect: instead of being insignificant, the swirl proved remarkably chunky, and the chewiness and sweetness far exceeded any form of graham cracker, crust, or cookie I’ve ever consumed. My tongue easily palpated the individual kernels of sugar and salt (yes, it has salt!). A more appropriate title for this swirl would be “Graham Cracker Cookie Dough”, as its gooey texture and level of satisfaction mirrored those of cookie dough in their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, with obvious flavor differences.
Compared to Graeter’s Pumpkin ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s take is unquestionably superior. First, Graeter’s is comparatively spicier and less creamy--not ideal at all. Ben & Jerry’s cheesecake theme and relatively toned-down spice prove far more satisfying. Second, the inclusion of graham swirl contrasted Ben & Jerry’s base perfectly. Graeter’s bland yet smooth texture simply doesn’t satisfy beyond the first scoop. Compared to Edy’s Pumpkin, Ben & Jerry’s is superior on every level. If you enjoy pumpkin spice or other Ben & Jerry’s cheesecake variants, you will definitely enjoy Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Winston's Grade: A