Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Honey Caramel Greek Froyo (An Ice Cream Review)

I’ve sort of dropped off the Greek yogurt bandwagon recently, mostly because I got myself addicted to Quest bars and increased my consumption. There is such a thing as too much protein, and looking at my nutrient ratios, I really didn’t need as much as I was getting. Still, I recently discovered the Funfetti side of Greek yogurt as a fun dessert.

There’s also the frozen version if you’re looking for a dessert-ish Greek twist. I tried (and enjoyed) Turkey Hill’s Baklava frozen Greek yogurt late last year, and it’s been popping up everywhere since...jeez, I don’t even know. Two years ago? Anyway, it’s a recent trend, and one of the most publicized releases was that of Ben & Jerry’s.

Their original four flavors were all fruity and didn’t really inspire me (a shame they had to mix the peanut butter with banana ice cream...yuck!), but for 2013 there are three new flavors: Pineapple Passion Fruit (too fruity), Liz Lemon (again, yuck!), and Vanilla Honey Caramel.

Wait! Do I spy a winner? Yes! Ben & Jerry’s has finally come up with a flavor that convinced me to try their Greek froyo!

“Vanilla Greek Frozen Yogurt with a Honey Caramel Swirl”

The nutrition facts aren’t that bad for B&J’s, but that’s still quite a calorie load for froyo. By comparison, Turkey Hill’s was 130 calories per serving. This is also less protein than is in flavors like Chubby Hubby or What a Cluster (just two examples, each with 7 grams per serving--plus a load more fat and calories :)).

Anyway, you can see the swirl already and that’s promising, because if the swirl was stingy this pint would be really disappointing. There are no solid mix-ins, which is somewhat rare for B&J’s, but I’m still pretty excited about this because I am a huge fan of their regular caramel swirl.

OK, first up: the base. This is the most unique vanilla I’ve ever tasted. At first it tastes just like a sweet, excellent-quality, flavorful vanilla ice cream. Perfect, creamy...everything a vanilla fan could hope for. And then it reminds you it’s actually Greek yogurt with a tangy burst of aftertaste. It’s a sweet tang, not overwhelming, but definitely a surprise after the first impression. It’s really hard to describe; you almost taste it in the back of your mouth. It really adds depth to the flavor, and I like it, even if it hits you in the face the first few bites. I quickly settled into it and enjoyed it for all it’s worth.

The swirl isn’t quite the same as B&J’s regular caramel swirl; it’s a bit thinner, although to me it still tastes largely like caramel. Maybe not as deep a caramel as the pure-caramel swirl they usually use. The honey doesn’t really come through, or maybe I don’t eat honey often enough to easily pick out its taste among the other flavors here. Whatever, the swirl is delicious, that’s the main point. Just not as thick and goopy or as heavily distributed as the swirl in, say, Dulce Delish.

The Greek yogurt is a lot softer and easier to scoop than their super-premium ice cream, and it’s slightly lighter and fluffier (though not much). It still gets that same creamy, slightly-melted feel; it just happens a bit faster with the Greek stuff. I actually think I preferred the texture here to that of their regular chocolate froyo (with the possible exception of the marshmallow-softened base in the Phish Food Froyo).

My dad is a fruity ice cream guy, so I had bought him some of the Strawberry Shortcake and Raspberry Fudge Chunk when they first came out last year (using up meal points). They are still in our freezer. Given the fruity flavors and his seemingly unenthusiastic reaction to them, I’d been afraid to try B&J’s Greek stuff until now. But this will probably visit my freezer again in the future. Because it’s already gone. I ate the whole pint last night. :)
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