As summer gets into full swing, nothing is more refreshing than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Of course, if you’re a B&J addict like myself, you’ll eat it year round, even if it’s 20 below outside.
It’s my favorite ice cream by far. Nothing compares to its lineup of delicious, creative flavors. Every bite is heavenly and you can’t stop eating it when you start, which is why they usually don’t sell it in larger sizes than a pint—no matter how much is there, it’s always a single serving, and it would be very dangerous, health-wise, if they sold it in half-gallon tubs. I used to eat like 2 or 3 pints a week. (Obviously I stopped at some point since I’m sitting here now with a functioning heart.)
What also makes Ben & Jerry’s unique is their controversial practice of discontinuing flavors, sending them to the “Flavor Graveyard.” Some of these flavors never come back, leaving us to reminisce wistfully about how great a nearly forgotten flavor was. Sadly, some of the greatest ice cream flavors that have ever existed have been unavailable for ten years or more.
Today I am picking the best of the best. This is my list of all-time top 10 flavors. Warning: I am not a big fan of chocolate, so while I do acknowledge the awesomeness of flavors like Bovinity Divinity and Phish Food, you won’t find them on the list.
10) Schweddy Balls
Vanilla Ice Cream with a Hint of Run & Loaded with Fudge Covered Rum & Malt Balls
I was only able to get this a couple times before One Million Moms Against BJ’s (that’s Moms Against Ben & Jerry’s…get your mind out of the gutter, we’re talking about something very serious here, namely Schweddy Balls) got this flavor taken out of freezers across the country. This is very unfortunate for those who never snagged a pint; this is one of the best flavors of all time. The whole malt balls were a B&J special, continuing the tradition of burying complete, unbroken treats in their ice cream.
9) Crème Brûlée
Sweet Custard Ice Cream with a Caramelized Sugar Swirl
Sometimes B&J comes up with completely original concepts for the base ice cream of a particular flavor. Where else can you even get sweet custard ice cream? What is it exactly? Who knows, but it tastes great. They are also the masters of the nice thick swirl, kind of like frosting for your ice cream (delish!), and this is one of their best.
8) Bonnaroo Buzz
Coffee & Malt Ice Creams with Whiskey Caramel Swirls & English Toffee Pieces
This is an amazing flavor. There used to be a lot of coffee flavors available (Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, and From Russia With Buzz) but this is one of the few remaining. Lucky for us, it’s the best one. The toffee pieces in this are huge—most require more than one bite to finish off. I’ll never forget scoring a pint that had 7 or 8 buried in it…it was like 2 whole candy bars wrapped in ice cream!
7) Appley Ever After
Brown Sugar Ice Cream with a Cinnamon-Caramel Swirl & Apples
Now, please note that I am not talking about the Appley Ever After that was released earlier this year in the U.K. With all due respect to the cause which fostered the re-introduction of this flavor, it is an inferior version of the 2005 Scoop Shop exclusive that was also called Appley Ever After, which never made it to grocer’s freezers. What’s being sold as AEA now is nothing more than a standard apple pie flavor with just bits of boring pie crust in it. The true Appley Ever After had brown sugar ice cream (!) and the gooiest, most delicious cinnamon-caramel swirl ever. And whole chunks of apple. It was crazy good.
6) Imagine Whirled Peace
Caramel & Sweet Cream Ice Cream Swirled with Fudge Piece Signs & Toffee Cookie Pieces
Lots of things going on in this one. It’s like a whirlwind of tasty, sweet flavors combining in the most piquant way. The fudge piece signs are a nice touch.
5) Triple Caramel Chunk
Caramel Ice Cream with a Swirl of Caramel & Fudge Covered Caramel Chunks
One of the foundations of the whole B&J line, in my opinion. Can you tell I love caramel? Maybe this list has too much on it, but it’s just so good—you can’t go wrong with caramel in ice cream. Some people would pick Karamel Sutra, with its solid caramel core, over this one. The thing that makes Sutra not as good is that half of it is chocolate ice cream. With Triple Chunk, you get all caramel ice cream. Case closed.
4) Key Lime Pie
Lime Ice Cream with a Tangy Lime Twist, Fluffy Meringue Swirl & Pie Crust Pieces
This is an incredible flavor. The lime ice cream is so delicious and refreshing, with just the right amount of tang. Discovering the meringue swirl, spread so generously throughout the entire pint, is to know pure joy. The pie crust distribution is perfect—not too little, not too much. Never a regular flavor, always a limited batch for summer, Key Lime seems to come around every two years—it was introduced in ’08 and brought back in ’10. I have it on solid authority that it will be in freezers once again this summer. If you see it, do yourself a flavor and buy one (or ten). You won’t regret it.
3) White Russian
Coffee Ice Cream with Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
We have not seen this flavor in a decade, and its disappearance might be one of the great tragedies of all recorded history. It was a fantastic, no-frills flavor. There were no chunks of candy, no bits of fruit. The experience was wholly dependent on the flavor of the ice cream, which was superlative. It was a minimalist flavor, bringing ice cream back to its essential essence. Honestly, I can barely remember what it tasted like. All I know is that it’s one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I hope that one day it makes its triumphant return to my mouth.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ice Cream Loaded with Gingerbread Cookies & a Ginger Caramel Swirl
When you ate Festivus, you knew you were truly eating a dessert. So rich, so sweet, so delicious. It had cookies, swirl, and brown sugar ice cream. Amazing! This is another one that has been gone for so long, it’s hard to imagine its taste on your tongue. But it was so good that while it was available you bought no other flavor. We can only hope that this holiday will one day be celebrated again in freezers everywhere.
1) Cherry Garcia
Cherry Ice Cream with Cherries & Fudge Flakes
The one and only. What more can you say? It’s the stalwart, the old stand-by. The king of the hill, lording over the realm. Always there, ever-reliable. It will never be discontinued, for there would be riots. This is the one you always go back to, because it’s just too damn good. Cherry Garcia will forever set the bar by which all other ice cream flavors are judged.