Well, the wait is over my dairy-free friends. After years of not being able to partake in Vermont's favorite ice cream, Ben & Jerry's has bravely ventured in to the non-dairy ice cream world.
Launching this new line with four flavors, vegans and those who cannot have dairy will soon be able to find the new ice creams at local grocery stores. Until then, the best place to find the new ice creams is Ben & Jerry's scoop shops. While exploring around Georgetown in Washington DC, I popped in to the neighborhood scoop shop and found all four of the new flavors in pints only (not scooping currently but hopefully someday). So excited to get a firsthand look at the ice creams, I bought a whole pint to take back to my hotel and enjoy (thank you Residence Inns nationwide for having freezers in every room!). I guess one bonus of buying the whole pint is no chance of dairy/gluten cross contamination... right?!
Before going further, I here's a primer on Ben & Jerry's dairy-free flavors. First off, you can identify them by an obvious "non dairy" labeling on the lid. All ice creams are almond milk-based, and are certified vegan, fair trade, non-GMO and Kosher. Initially, the four flavors that are dairy-free are:
- Fudge Brownie: chocolate ice cream with brownie bites (not gluten-free)
- Chunky Monkey: banana ice cream with walnuts and fudge chunks
- Coffee Caramel Fudge: coffee ice cream with swirls of fudge and caramel (not gluten-free)
- PB and Cookies: vanilla ice cream with peanut butter swirl and chocolate sandwich cookies (not gluten-free)
Of all of the flavors, the only without gluten-containing ingredients is the chunky monkey. Narrowing the field down to one, I was happy that the one safe flavor was one whose flavor I knew I was predisposed to like. Bananas? Walnuts? Chocolate? Count me in.
Diving in to the pint, what first struck me about the ice cream was its creaminess. Smooth and effortlessly scoop-able, the ice cream was definitely spot-on texture-wise. I loved how the banana base ice cream was velvety smooth and not too overpowering in flavor. Chunks of fudge and walnuts populated every spoonful, making this vegan ice cream connoisseur incredibly happy. When I could eat Ben & Jerry's "regular" ice cream, the chunks are what sold me, and this ice cream certainly delivered in that regard.
The ice cream was truly decadent and indulgent. Easily it totally ups the ante for all of the other non-dairy ice creams out there, and is a stiff competition. While $8/pint at the Scoop Shop was outrageously expensive, I must admit that it was worth it for the rare treat and first taste of Ben & Jerry's in at least five years. Those of you who don't want to break the bank, I recommend going with friends and splitting the pint.
Going forward, I sincerely hope that Ben & Jerry's continues to expand their line of vegan ice-creams. There's certainly a market out there, and I hope future additions to the collection are free from gluten and gluten-containing ingredients.
Ice cream pints can be found at Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops, as well as local grocery stores (pending roll out throughout the spring). I do know that Wegmans in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area are slated to carry the pints. This post will be updated when I confirm sightings around the Baltimore area.
If you could make any flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream dairy-free, which would you choose? Comment below!
Disclaimer: This review is current to the original publication date. Updates will be noted. Ingredients and manufacturing processes can change without notice. Each product should be reviewed for individual nutritional needs. Feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I purchased this product independently and the review is a reflection of my personal opinion.