Wednesday, September 25, 2013

READER REVIEW: Kenneth's Review of Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Jam Session (Target Exclusive)

Ben & Jerry's seem determined to establish their fondness of peanut butter. In addition to staples like Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Brittle and Peanut Butter World, the company introduced the limited Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and, most recently, Peanut Butter Jam Session. Along with Rockin' Blondies, this replaces Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder for Ben & Jerry's Target-exclusive batches. I'll be honest and say that the concept and description for Peanut Butter Jam Session doesn't really excite me, especially since it utilizes a raspberry swirl, as opposed to incorporating grape flavor (seriously, how many ice creams have that?). However, given the company's solid reputation with peanut butter offerings, I hope this one can pull through.

Underneath the lid is a deceptively tame-looking ice cream, one that soon unfolds to a spectacular visual showcase. There's no short supply to the raspberry swirl which, though not thick or dense, is integrated into each scoop. While the base is peanut butter, it's very mild, allowing the tart raspberry flavor to stand out. After a few bites, however, the combination begins to gravitate towards the peanut butter. Soon the raspberry flavor takes more of a complementary role, as opposed to standout. Then we get to the crunchy peanut butter swirl.

This particular mix-in is a little different than I expected, and seems to take on two different personalities. While there are many times I get tiny crumbs from the peanut butter (think Smucker's once it's stirred), there are also a few points the swirl comes off like lightly chewy peanut brittle. These are easily the best part of the ice cream and, when encountered, significantly elevate the overall experience. However, these ultimately have a very short-lived role and, come the bottom third of the pint, were almost completely absent.

My expectations for Peanut Butter Jam Session were quite low. I didn't expect to find as much enjoyment as I did and, with regards to the infrequent peanut butter swirl, it definitely hit some high marks. But these felt too brief and occasional to truly catapult it to earn my highest recommendation. In exchange for retiring one excellent and one subpar flavor, Ben & Jerry's have given us two competent flavors, but for different reasons. If Volun-Tiramisu were retired and Brownie Chew Gooder brought back, Target would have a truly excellent list of exclusive flavors.

Where Kenneth Found It: Target
Kenneth's Grade: B

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