Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Top 5 Ben & Jerry's Flavors.

It was Free Cone Day last week, but I sadly didn't have the time or patience to wait in line at any of the multiple stores in the Portland metro area. I did have a quick minute when I was downtown before I had to be at class, and so I scooted over to the one at Pioneer Courthouse Square, hoping against hope it wouldn't be too crowded and I might be able to squeeze in. Like all of my willfully delusional ideas, I was wrong, as the line spread around the block--with a guy in a cow suit encouraging more people to jump in. (Just seeing the guy in the cow suit was worth the walk, though.) The line at the Hawthorne store, hours later when I drove by it on my way home, was just as long. While I was bummed I wasn't able to partake, just seeing the throngs waiting for ice cream made my heart immeasurably happy. We all need more ice cream.

In fact, if I were to rank things that I believe make America great, it would go something like this:
1. Freedom of the press
2. Freedom of religion
3. National parks
4. Free cone day
5. Other stuff
There are some factors, however, which currently work against my desire for Ben & Jerry's. I've been trying to roughly enact an eating-local philosophy over the last year or so, and being that they're from the very opposite end of the country--what else is Vermont even known for, really? (Beautiful scenery and skiing? Naaah)--obviously breaks this rule. There's also the disconcerting fact that it's not owned by Ben and Jerry anymore, and their ingredients also aren't always as pure, simple or good as other local ice creams I can find here, or even as much as Haagen Dazs or Breyer's. But still--it's Ben & Jerry's! Who cares!

After careful deliberation, I've decided on my Top 5 flavors, since making Top 5 lists is apparently something I'm into lately.

1. Chubby Hubby

This can be hard to find here for some reason, but, PEANUT BUTTER FILLED, FUDGE COVERED PRETZELS. HELLO. Also, the fact that they briefly changed the name to Hubby Hubby in support of gay marriage in Vermont is just another reason to endlessly love B&J forever.

2. Marsha Marsha Marshmallow/S'mores

So this flavor is now called S'mores. It used to be called Marsha Marsha Marsmallow. I am irrationally irked by this, even though the change happened years ago. S'mores? Really? When did you become boring? Did Ben & Jerry approve of this? I thought they still had some say, somehow, maybe? This article I found wraps up my feelings more precisely than I could: 
"There is an allure to Ben & Jerry’s that, perhaps more than any other brand, is communicated by their naming. Ben & Jerry’s has brand permissions that few others enjoy, using product names to connect with us, entertain us and engage us all at once...Ben & Jerry’s is the king of naming with a wink and laugh. Long live Marsha Marsha Marshmallow."
Yes. Exactly. Case in point: one of their newest flavors is called Clusterfluff. Clusterfluff! That is ballsy (and hilarious)! But you change Marsha Marsha Marshmallow to S'mores? I will never stop being disappointed.


Of course, I still buy it, since it's still delicious. This flavor, along with Phish Food, has the beautiful ability to become gloriously goopy and messy through its use of the marshmallow swirl. Combined with the rich chocolate and the surprisingly satisfying slight crunch of graham crackers, it inevitably makes a pint of melty, mushy bliss.

3. Oatmeal Cookie Chunk

Kathy introduced me to this flavor as one of her favorites, and for some reason I was slightly skeptical at first. It just didn't sound as exciting as some of the other flavors. But man oh man, was I wrong. The sweet cinnamon taste of the ice cream along with the chewy cookie bits is perfectly complemented by the dark chocolate chunks. Perfect.

4. Chunky Monkey

Chunky Monkey is a classic flavor, and a favorite of my family--what we would often get when my mom occasionally felt wild and crazy and bought us a pint. Ben & Jerry's felt like a fancy treat as a kid--little did I know I would grow up to one day literally live across the street from a 7-11 which I would stumble across the street in my pajamas to in order to pick up a pint literally every other day or so. Good times, unhealthy obsessive eating habits! (Apartment on Comm Ave in Brighton, Massachusetts, I miss you.) Back to the matter at hand though, the flavor of the banana ice cream in this joint is so refreshing that it pretty much tastes like it should be good for you. Which it is, right? Bananas? Hello? And there's protein in nuts, right?

5. Half Baked

One of my favorite classic ice cream flavors of all time is chocolate chip cookie dough. A good, solid chocolate chip cookie dough (including Ben & Jerry's) is close to perfection--but sometimes I stray away from it when it just seems too vanilla, and I'm leaning towards a chocolate mood. Well, welcome to Half Baked! We'll give you your cookie dough, and through in some FUDGE BROWNIES, yo! And we'll swirl that vanilla and chocolate all up for you! Because we're Ben & Jerry's, and throwing a bunch of stuff together in one carton is what we're here for!

What are your favorite flavors that I missed/you want to fight me on? (I'm up for the fight.) If you need some guidance, you can surf all the delicious choices here. And if you really have some extra time on your hands, you should entertain yourself by browsing their flavor graveyard. (When you tour the factory, there is a literal graveyard, and it's one of the best parts of the whole thing.)


  1. mmmmm...Ben & Jerry's. So good.
    While all of those are delicious (although I've not had Marsha Marsha Marshmallow before), my all time favorite is still mint chocolate cookie. Recently I've been eating Cheesecake Brownie and it is amazing!

  2. I'm with Sam. Mint chocolate cookie is amazing. You can usually find a nearly-whole Oreo in there. Also, I am a huge fan of the chocolate brownie, which is somewhat boring I suppose, but again, sometimes you can find like a whole chewy-frozen brownie in there!

  3. Oh, and Cherry Garcia. Also a classic.

  4. I'm a big fan of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but really love Cherry Garcia too. There's this thing though, about ice cream that apparently makes it unhealthy and fattening though? (Whoever decided that should have probably thought real carefully before sharing this information and ruining it for so many people.) Anyway, now they have "froyo" flavors and even though they're probably still really unhealthy, I can assuage my guilt slightly and still enjoy pretty good stuff. So I got the Cherry Garcia froyo and since it's been so long since I've actually had the real stuff, it's GOOD! I might be disappointed if I tried them side by side though. I dunno.

  5. Sam & Sara--yes, mint chocolate cookie is pretty fantastic, although I still stand by my Top 5. But yeah, getting a whole cookie--or like, a whole heath bar in some of the other flavors--is such a delicious and awesome surprise! And, well, you know how I feel about cherries, so I still can't do Cherry Garcia, although I do understand it's a classic for most people.

    Shannon--Yeah! I am pretty skeptical about the froyo. I dunno, either. I don't think I've actually tried them yet, although I eye the Half Baked one they have sometimes. But then I think about how much better the actual, fatty one will taste, and I always get that one.

  6. As you know, I am about a big a fan as they come. I agree with your giving Chubby Hubby the top spot. I also like the Oatmeal Cookie Chunk although I haven't had it some time (the Giant we shop at doesn't stock it for some reason). I'm not sure about the Marshmallow one though (I don't think I have actually ever had it but I am not a big marshmallow person). I agree with Sara and Sam that Mint Chocolate Cookie should be on the list. If you get a chance, try Milk & Cookies...I have moved it up to my number two position. Here is my list:

    1.) Chubby Hubby
    2.) Milk & Cookies
    3.) Mint Chocolate Cookie
    4.) Chunky Monkey
    5.) Oatmeal Cookie Chunk

    Honorable mentions go to Strawberry Cheesecake, Boston Cream Pie, and Cinnamon Buns. I also like the new Red Velvet Cake and the Jimmy Fallon one with fudge covered potato chip clusters. They used to have one in the B&J shops called Bananas on the Rum that was the same banana ice cream as Chunky Monkey but with a rum swirl. Delicious! I have never seen it in pints for some reason. I could go on and on but I think you get the point. Ice cream is good.

  7. Jeff--your long reply just made me very happy, and also made me miss you a lot. I have tried Milk & Cookies, and enjoyed it, although I think I have to eat it a few more times to really get to know it, if you know what I mean. And I haven't tried the Red Velvet one yet! Or Jimmy Fallon's! Clearly I am behind the times, but I'm hungry now.

  8. I live in Portland, Oregon and can no longer find the Marsha Marsha Marshmallow/Smores flavor. Any ideas where I can purchase it?

    It is still my #1 favorite of all of the flavors--old ones and new ones. Lily.

  9. I was just in the New Seasons on Hawthorne yesterday and saw it there. I'm pretty sure I've seen it at Fred Meyer's, too. So never fear--it's out there! I'm glad you agree with me on its deliciousness!