Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Review
This brand won our blind tasting hands down because it was "well-balanced" with "more body" and "no aftertaste." It tasted like vanilla without being overpowering and was "just sweet enough" without being cloying.
Although our testers didn't realize we had added a more premium ice cream to the blind tasting mix, they gravitated toward Ben & Jerry's Vanilla for its richer taste, more substantial mouth feel, and deep vanilla color. From many of our tasters it was hard to get comments other than "mmmm."
The panelists were delighted with Ben & Jerry's "pure" vanilla flavor and insisted they could tell that there were no artificial ingredients. While some termed the product sweet, no one found it to be excessively so. Ultimately, it was the smooth and "creamiest" texture that kept them asking to taste it again and again.
Unlike the other ice creams we tested, Ben & Jerry's Vanilla contains egg yolk, which contributes to the rich texture. Other ingredients include milk, cream, sugar, and stabilizers. The vanilla comes from extract that's made from a variety of vanilla beans. And to augment the socially conscious qualities that keep Ben & Jerry's close to its activist roots, those vanilla beans are all fair trade, harvested by Indonesian farmers who belong to associations that support sustainable farming practices.
From small beginnings in a former Burlington, Vermont gas station, Ben & Jerry's is still independently operated although it is owned by Unilever. And once a year, if you're lucky enough to live near a Ben & Jerry's scoop shop, you can step right in and help the company celebrate "free cone day."
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Other Recommended Ice Cream
Breyers Natural Vanilla
This was actually our tasting panel's No. 2 pick, behind premium brand Ben & Jerry's. The modulated sweetness and vanilla flavor pulled in fans, although the vanilla flecks led testers to expect "more vanilla in it." Detractors said the flavor was so mild as to be bland.Read more »
|Available at Target|
Edy's/Dreyer's Rich & Creamy Grand VanillaTesters declared this brand "generic" and "standard." One said this is the ice cream parents would buy their kids and another said it reminded him of an elementary school cafeteria. Read more »
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Turkey Hill Original Vanilla Ice CreamThis is a middle-of-the-pack brand; it was just OK. The texture was off-putting to some who described the mouth feel as "more like milk than cream." In terms of flavor, one of our tasters suggested this brand would be much improved "if it had chocolate syrup all over it." Read more »
|Available at Target|