Monday, January 25, 2016

READER REVIEW: Steve's Review of Blue Bell Butter Crunch

As part of their slow roll-out of product back into the marketplace, Blue Bell recently released "Butter Crunch". Blue Bell describes Butter Crunch as "Vanilla flavored ice cream with chunks of crunchy chocolate peanut butter candy". I have previously eaten two tubs of this flavor, but not since late 2012. My experience with this ice cream then was tepid, and though I didn't write down my impressions, I agreed with the Ice Cream Informant's official review, which graded this at a "C". So three years and a Listeria outbreak later, I wasn't expecting to be very impressed.

So what about now? Well, I'm considerably more impressed with this new version of Butter Crunch than I was a few years ago. While it still features a "vanilla flavored" base that isn't as rich and creamy as Blue Bell's "Homemade Vanilla" flavor, the mix-ins are markedly improved. The previous times I ate Butter Crunch, the candy pieces were so small the best word to describe them would be as "flakes" or "crumbs", too small to convey much flavor, and they added up to a pretty bland overall offering. Not so now! The tub I ate yesterday featured much bigger chunks. Yes, there was still a plethora of small shards of candy, but there were also many larger chunks of both the chocolate and, even more prominently, the peanut butter candies. These chunks combined with the smaller flakes and shards to create a rich mix-in experience. The flavor of the peanut butter chunks bears noting: They aren't pure peanut butter, but rather a crunchy candy, very similar to the middle of a Butterfingers bar. Which, since I like Butterfingers, was alright by me.

Overall, I enjoyed Butter Crunch. The generous quantity of candy is evident top to bottom, and as you eat the ice cream the chewy peanut butter chunks stick to your teeth and add to the flavor of later spoonfuls, and all of this gels nicely with the vanilla-flavored base. Whereas back in 2012 I would have recommended skipping this flavor, I now have the opposite opinion. While Butter Crunch doesn't rise to the level of Blue Bell's best mix-in filled offerings (such as they were!), it is a tasty treat.

Where Steve Found It: Target (Baton Rouge, LA)
Steve's Grade: B

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