Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby (An Ice Cream Review)

I really really really love Ben & Jerry’s, but I would be lying if I said the peanut butter flavors didn’t scare me. They do. Because, well, B&J’s + peanut butter = lots of calories.

Well, that sort of thinking is not going to get me anywhere in this fight, so on a whim I stopped at the Harris Teeter by the barn because Harris Teeter is the only place around here you can get Chubby Hubby: “Vanilla Malt Ice Cream with Peanutty Fudge-Covered Pretzels with Fudge & Peanut Buttery Swirls.”

My sister loves it when I say “Harris Teeter.” I guess living up north, that’s a funny name.

So, even just licking off the lid, I tasted salt and pretzels. Which is pretty amazing considering that the pretzels are totally sealed in chocolate and untastable until you actually chew on them. I think it was actually a combination of the vanilla malt and the salt from the peanut butter. It’s hard to tell because all the mix-ins get in the way, but the base seemed a little off from their regular vanilla. All this resulted in my initial impression of weirdness.

Let’s focus on the swirls first. We’ve got the chocolate one, which is more like a smear throughout the whole pint (as opposed to puddling in places and being gooey everywhere). Now there are a few puddles, and when that happens it’s well and fine, fudgey as you’d expect, but it’s not the star of the show. More often than not, it gets lost among the other flavors.

Not so with the peanut butter. This one is confusing, because sometimes you don’t see it so you’re not ready for it, but it’s there. Almost always, it’s there. It seems different from the usual Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter swirl; perhaps it’s just the combination here, but it comes across as milder. It’s not as gritty, it’s a bit sweeter...maybe it’s just not as thick as usual so it doesn’t come on so strong. I’d like to see more of it, but nonetheless it’s always there as an undertone.

Now, those pretzels. They are monsters! In the previous version, these were actually peanut butter-filled, but now they’re coated in peanut butter and then coated again in chocolate. Being not the biggest pretzel fan, the old version sounds better (because there’s less pretzel), but unfortunately I never got to try that one. Still, these ones are good. Sure, they’re almost impossible to scoop, but that just attests to their size. They’re well encased in their coatings; I only had one that was soggy, and it was broken in half (no sign of the other half, though), so I can’t hold that against them. They are pretzel-y but not too salty. The problem I have with pretzels is that they’re so dry, but the chocolate and peanut butter (and the ice cream!) help mitigate that.

The only bone I have to pick here is that the pretzels drown out everything else when you get them in a spoonful. And there are lots of them, so that happens often. Since they don’t have a very rich taste and I love the sweet parts of ice cream, it’s sort of a bummer for me. Especially not being able to taste the peanut butter.

So, I’m glad I tried it, but I probably won’t buy it again. Although who knows, I’ve been craving popcorn lately, so my tastes are evolving...I’m just not to pretzels, quite yet.
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