You know you’re not keeping proper tabs on your deep freezer when you go digging toward the bottom and find something that’s got to be at least two years old. While I’m hazy on the exact date, I believe it was sometime around mid-2011 when Ben & Jerry’s did away with name “Clusterfluff” in favor of the less controversial “What A Cluster.” From what I’ve read and been told, the flavor and ingredients are all the same—it’s really just a matter of new marketing and packaging. Hey, whatever works.
Now I know several reviewers have showered this flavor with numerous accolades, and at the risk of jumping on the bandwagon, I pretty much have to agree with every good thing that’s been said about it thus far. The peanut butter ice cream base itself is strong, but not overpowering. And the caramel cluster pieces do a nice job of complementing the peanut butter flavor without making you run for the nearest glass of milk. In fact, when I first read the label, I was pretty convinced that this flavor was going to end up making me thirsty. Fortunately, the marshmallow swirl balanced out the saltier components nicely, and even with the addition of the peanut butter swirl, I didn't find this flavor to be problematically salty. What I did find it to be was rich and downright delicious.
Did our friends at Ben & Jerry's go a little overboard on this one by adding in so many components? Maybe. And if you're counting calories, you'll probably want to look away before reading the label, because nutritionally speaking, this one's pretty brutal. On the other hand, if you like peanut butter and are looking for a flavor that screams indulgence, this one's for you.
Of course, what I really find most impressive is the fact that my pint tasted so incredibly delicious and fresh despite the fact that it’s probably been buried in the pits of my deep freezer for the past 24 months, give or take. It just goes to show that quality ice cream really can withstand the test of time.
Of course, I’m not advocating the notion of aging your ice cream along the lines of a fine red wine. It is ice cream, after all. But it’s good to know that ice creams made with premium ingredients can survive a couple of years of neglect and still come out tasting incredible. Considering that I recently stocked up, hoarder-style, on Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk after learning that it’s been officially discontinued, I’m now more inclined to slowly savor those last delicious bites of sweet cream and cinnamon goodness knowing they’ll probably keep well into 2014. On second thought, maybe by then Ben & Jerry’s will have taken pity on those of us who adore Oatmeal Cookie Chunk and bring it back to the market. A girl can dream.
Where Mo Found It: Chain Supermarket in Central New Jersey
Mo's Grade: A