Thursday, June 13, 2013

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry's Banana Split

Since this blog's beginning, I’ve tried and reviewed over 50 different pints of ice cream from our friends at Ben & Jerry’s. With the exception of four flavors in their standard rotation, I’ve sampled every available option as well as a few exclusive, limited and scoop shop only batches that have come and gone. Out of the four remaining, only a few are actually available in my area. One of these is the combination of banana and strawberry ice creams with walnuts, fudge chunks & a fudge swirl known as Banana Split. Ben & Jerry’s take on the classic American sundae leaves out the Neapolitan trio of ice cream and counts on two fruit based ice creams to carry the load instead. Their banana base in flavors like Banana Cream Pie and the classic Chunky Monkey won me over a long time ago, however the strawberry base featured in Banana Split is something of a mystery. Outside of their Strawberry Shortcake Greek Frozen Yogurt, not one of their current creations features a strawberry ice cream.

The unimpressive description of this particular pint had caused me to hold off for far too long and after seeing the fudge swirl sitting on the first layer, was something I thought I’d immediately regret. The 260 calories per serving contained inside is middle of the road for a flavor featuring a fruit foundation. Despite the vivid colors of the actual fruit, the pink and pale yellow ice creams are barely distinguishable by just looking. The banana base is just as sweet and smooth as I remember and, even though it’s nothing to brag about, their strawberry ice cream isn’t bad either. They’ve even left in small slivers of bananas and strawberries to more accurately portray the fruit toppings included on the actual dessert. Following only a few bites though, I find it too hard to avoid the thick fudge swirl any longer.

This hot fudge imitator was easily my favorite part of this pint. The liquid consistency and rich chocolate flavor complimented both of the base ice creams, as well as the other two remaining mix-ins. Ben & Jerry’s use the same standard fudge flakes frequently found in other flavors, but luckily these are small enough that they melt down quickly and avoid the typical frozen-solid consistency of full-size bars they sometimes use. The finishing touch of Banana Split comes in the form of a few broken bits of walnut. These are soft, easily chewed and bring about an authentic feel to this sundae spin-off. The end result off all the ingredients is something pretty mediocre when compared to some of their more intricate creations. Although I overlooked this for some time, it doesn’t really seem I was missing out on that much.

Where I Found It: Ingles Market
Grade: C

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