Friday, August 16, 2013

Ben & Jerry's Americone Dream, Take 2 (An Ice Cream Review)

A while ago, I bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream from Weis and took it home in anticipation...only to discover that it had gone bad long ago. It was rock hard, chewable like ice cream shouldn’t be, and didn’t taste very good either. So I’ve been meaning to give it a second shot--especially after trying its rival Late Night Snack--and now seems as good a time as any.

This is “Vanilla Ice Cream with Fudge Covered Waffle Cone Pieces & a Caramel Swirl.” It sounds similar to Late Night Snack with a few differences (besides the Jimmy Fallon vs. Stephen Colbert thing): 1) vanilla ice cream instead of vanilla bean, 2) waffle cones rather than potato chips, and 3) a caramel swirl instead of a salty caramel swirl. Personally, I thought the potato chips were a bit weird to have in ice cream and waffle cones just sound so much more appealing.

Anyway, just pulling off the lid reveals that once again Ben & Jerry have blessed us with a ton of generously-sized mix-ins. That hint of caramel coloring is tantalizing, too. It’s about as exciting as this flavor can get. It’s been done before, by many companies. But I’m partial to B&J’s, so I’m still anticipating the moment when I dig in!

Well, this one was still hard to scoop (I mean spoon--I don’t do ice cream scoops anymore, there’s no point when you just eat the whole pint), but not nearly as much so as the original one. This time it was due to a plethora of large fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and NOT thawed and re-frozen ice cream. That is good news, because I really really like these things. Now that’s “like”, not “love”, because I reserve “love” for things like cookie dough and brownies and cake pieces. Waffle cones fall just short of my favorite things. But they are still really good. Most are very crispy inside their fudge cocoons and they add a fun texture to the otherwise smooth and creamy base. They are much denser than the potato chips in Late Night Snack, and despite the fact that they have a thick chocolate coating they manage to impart a lot of waffle-cone flavor.

I don’t eat a whole lot of plain vanilla Ben & Jerry’s, since my favorites usually use cake batter or chocolate bases (think Phish Food or Chocolate Therapy), or caramel or sweet yeah, I think you get the point. But anyway, to my limited vanilla palate, this one tastes like there’s more to it than most plain-Jane vanillas. Something a little deeper to add more flavor, I guess. I don’t know exactly, but I like it! In fact I prefer the vanilla base to the chocolate (most of the time), it’s just that Ben and Jerry put better mix-ins into their chocolate bases. :/

The most frustrating part about this ice cream was that sneaky caramel swirl. It ALWAYS looks like it’s hiding just under the surface! OK, maybe not all the time, just most of the time. Which is annoying when you love caramel like I do. This swirl isn’t as thick as the one in Dulce Delish (I don’t think they’ll ever top that one again), and I’d certainly like to see more of it, but it does come into play. It’s just much more mild than the vanilla and chocolate/waffle cone flavors, which was a bit disappointing.

I feel like I’ve got to weigh in on the Colbert vs. Fallon debate, even though I’m way late to the party...this is hands down the winner. I’m just not digging potato chips in my ice cream, and some of them were soggy at that. This is one I would definitely buy again, and I’m glad I didn’t give up after the first pint.
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