Photo: Courtesy Ben & Jerry’s
I scream, you scream, and, in this day and age of specialized diets, we all scream for non-dairy ice cream! And Ben & Jerry’s finally has something to scream about.
Ben & Jerry’s unveiled its long-promised vegan ice cream line made with almond milk. Four flavors, two permanent and two limited edition, will make their way to store shelves by mid- to late-February.
The project was started about two and a half years ago, said Kristen Schimoler, the principal food scientist with Ben & Jerry’s. It took the company nine months just to develop the base frozen mixture before adding in flavor chunks and swirls, which also had to meet vegan standards.
“We had to make it look like our ice cream, feel like our ice cream, and melt like our ice cream,” Schimoler said. “The first 15 rounds was like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. There was a lot of gross stuff at the beginning.”
After market research, the company decided to go with almond milk as the dairy alternative. Coconut-based products tasted too much like coconut and they wanted to avoid soy milk because it’s fallen out of favor with health-food fans.
After about 60 different versions, the team was satisfied with its almond milk base. Flavors in this first batch include classics Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Chunky Monkey, which are a bit “healthier” than their dairy counterparts. Traditional Chocolate Fudge Brownie has 260 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving; the non dairy version has 210 calories and 11 grams of fat.
Limited-edition flavors include a Coffee Caramel Fudge, and P.B. & Cookies (with vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies). The P.B. & Cookies will be available in scoop shops.
Yahoo Food got an advanced taste of all four flavors before the launch and found them to be some of the most convincing non-dairy ice cream we’ve ever tried. Although all were tasty, the best of the bunch was the P.B. & Cookies because the peanut butter added more body and creaminess. The Chunky Monkey, while a very solid dessert option, had the most almond milk characteristics, tasting thinner and a bit grainer than traditional diary ice cream.
The vegan versions will cost a little bit more, too. Standard pints are $4.89, and the non-dairy line is $5.69.