Tuesday, August 13, 2013

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry's Vanilla


While browsing the freezer section at a local gourmet grocery store, I came across a flavor, which for me at least, doesn’t turn up that often: Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla. A high percentage of the flavor combinations used by Vermont’s Finest include this particular ice cream, and although some ice cream connoisseurs have a problem with their chocolate, the complaints are minimal about their vanilla base. My craving for something simple and sweet, coupled with the fact that I hadn’t added their Fairtrade Vanilla to my ever expanding list of conquered Ben & Jerry’s flavors, meant this pint of vanilla ice cream was coming home with me.


Without the inclusion of any mix-ins, this pint of super-premium comes in at 230 calories per serving, which is still pretty high for a base-only option. With the lid removed, the off-white ice cream shows off those signature flecks from the whole vanilla beans that were used during production. According to their website, “This flavor's deep vanilla-richness comes from extract made with Fairtrade Certified® vanilla beans. Fairtrade ensures vanilla growers a fair price for their harvests, enabling them to protect their land & livelihoods, provide for their families, and invest in their future. Give a lick & discover the difference Fairtrade makes at www.fairtradeusa.org. Enjoy!

A Ben & Jerry's Flavor Guru Doing What He Does Best
When I made the trip up to the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters back in early April, one of the test batches we made utilized their vanilla base. One of the flavor gurus added some of the extract that was made with the aforementioned Fairtrade vanilla beans to give their generic ice cream mix the ideal vanilla flavoring. While many people consider a plain vanilla ice cream to be way too unexciting to captivate any taste buds for an extended period of time, a pint of well-made, well-balanced, super-premium vanilla would beg to differ.


Along with other top-notch vanilla ice creams like the ones from Graeter’s, New Orleans Ice Cream Company and Blue Bell, the one from Ben & Jerry’s, when enjoyed all by itself, is plenty capable of holding its own. The slow-melting consistency of the high butterfat mixture allows for all the complex flavors to fully develop before everything breaks down. Of course this can’t compete with some of their more complicated flavors that contain vanilla already, but if you’re feeling like something sweet, uncomplicated and delicious, Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla could fit the bill. It’s also perfect for adding your own personal mix-ins that you have lying around. Considering I enjoyed this the same week I celebrated a birthday, oversized chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake and brownies were all at my disposal to use as flavor enhancements and I took full advantage.


Where I Found It: Walmart
Grade: C

12 comments:

  1. What I really don't get is why they don't have a "plain" version of the vanilla bean they use in LNS. As far as a standalone flavor, it would be far superior.

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    Replies
    1. I completely agree. That "Vanilla Bean Ice Cream" base was phenomenal in Late Night Snack. Same with Blue Bell, but the other way around. I'm not sure why they don't use their Homemade Vanilla in more flavors featuring mix-ins.

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  2. you should review more plain vanillas. HD vanilla bean ce cream is damn good IMO

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    Replies
    1. I'm going to try and do just that. I've heard great things about Vanilla Bean from Haagen Dazs, but I've heard that the Ugandan Vanilla Bean from Jeni's is the best around.

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  3. I'm sorry to see that you've finally run out of ice cream to review.

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    Replies
    1. Seems like it. Time to brush up on the basics!

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  4. what's up with your reviews? you call it "top notch" and "sweet, uncomplicated and delicious" and yet you gave it a C? C is almost a failing grade.

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    Replies
    1. A grade of C is just as close to an A as it is to failing. I consider C rated flavors as pedestrian and nothing to go out of your way to purchase. That still doesn't mean those adjectives you quoted don't apply.

      My grades are subjective anyways. Just because I give something a C doesn't mean others would too. I just try to provide accurate descriptions and high quality photos to let people formulate their own opinions about what they should or maybe shouldn't spend their hard earned cash/calories on.

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    2. I will say I'm surprised you gave this a C and Blue Bell's Homemade Vanilla a B.

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    3. I'll take Blue Bell's Homemade Vanilla over Ben & Jerry's Vanilla all day.

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    4. That's quite a compliment. Their Natural Vanilla Bean is also extremely good.

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    5. I see it on occasion. I may have to pick some up just to have on deck. Then again, my freezer space is very limited.

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