With as much vegan ice cream as I consume, I am surprised that this is my first review of a non-dairy ice cream, or a non-dairy frozen dessert to be technically correct. For my first ice cream review, I figured that I would do something that is familiar to the average consumer, but relatively new in the vegan world. The Ben and Jerry’s company came out with their almond milk based ice cream just over two years ago. This particular flavor came out about a year ago. Just like any new product, it took it a while to make it to Casper. Over the past year and a half, I have found a lot of their non-dairy ice creams at Walmart and Albertson’s.
For starters, I used to love Ben and Jerry’s! Their “Cherry Garcia” flavor was my favorite ice cream in the entire world! I was really excited when they first announced that they were going to make vegan flavors. I’ve always loved the packaging. The bright colors and fun fonts make their products stand out from all of the other ice creams in the freezer section. That didn’t change with the non-dairy flavors. They added the words “non-dairy” around the lid and put a little almond on front with the words “made with almond milk”. That made it easy to identify. I flipped the pint over out of curiosity. I wanted to see what went into Ben and Jerry’s new concoction. I was happy to see that the first ingredient was almond milk and not sugar. As I made it down the relatively long list of ingredients, I found a lot of other ingredients that I didn’t love as much. The second ingredient is liquid sugar (sugar and water), followed by corn syrup, corn syrup solids, pea protein, two different kinds of lecithin, and caramel color. I know what most of those ingredients are, but they are highly processed and I don’t always like consuming them. My initial thought is that the product is going to be too sweet, but I had to taste it before making any judgements.
When it came to taste and texture, I had mixed feelings about the ice cream. It was pretty easy to scoop, which is nice. I thought that it looked really good with all of the chunks of brittle and swirls of caramel. For the taste test, I decided to fill an ice cream cone. That is my favorite way to eat ice cream. For some reason, no matter what the ice cream tastes like, I think it is more enjoyable eaten out of a cone! The texture was smooth and creamy, but it wasn’t as creamy as a coconut or cashew based product. I expected that with an almond milk base, though. At first I got a hint of almond flavor. It tasted more like an extract than a natural roasted almond. The next thing that hit me was a very sweet flavor. I don’t know what it tasted like other than sweet. That was the caramel. It didn’t really taste like caramel. It tasted like some sweet, syrupy mix that was colored brown, hence the caramel coloring. When I got to the chunks of almond brittle, I was pleasantly surprised. They had real toasted almonds in them, they were crunchy, and actually not too sweet. Those pieces of brittle definitely made the ice cream for me. They were delicious and addicting and kept me going back for more.
Over all, I thought that this non-dairy ice cream was alright. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t bad. I would eat it again just for the brittle pieces! I still have my ice cream preferences, but there aren’t many options here in Casper. As far as ice creams that can be found locally, this is for sure in my top five!