2013 Summer Fancy Food Show, Day 2

Now come peanuts, and popcorn, and plenty of treats from day two of the Summer Fancy Food Show 2013! There were scorpions.

We started out the day on the second floor, bright and early, with this staring us in the face.

Fifty Shades of Kale? Not for me, although kale does strike me as a rather punish-y vegetable.

The lower floor was definitely more energetic and buzzing, though that could have also been due to sofi excitement and the groove of the show once everyone had their affairs in order. We started the day with pizza…

And more killer packaging. What?! I’m a sucker for handwritten labels and pretty jars.

It was definitely more slanted toward items I gravitate toward- shredded pork tacos from Frontera were a welcome respite amidst the sea of chocolate and ice cream.

Not that I’m complaining about ice cream, of course. After months of Facebook friendery with the good folks at High Road, we finally met in person and I was promptly given approximately twelve hundred bites of their perfect ice cream. The creme caramel with roasted rhubarb, apples, and mint was my favorite.

Sukhi’s chana masala wrap wasn’t new to us, but the smile was too cute to resist.
Dave’s Insanity introduced us to our new favorite friends, Fluffy and Mittens the scorpions!
We also ogled the $1,000 pasta sauce, with heirloom tomatoes, white truffles, and gold leaf, which could only taste good over butchered human flesh for such a price.

It was definitely a more upbeat day, and we brought home some incredible treats to share on the site.

This bee bar was one of the prettiest samples, from the Savannah Bee Company. It has caramelized honeycomb inside of it, but it’s almost too cute to eat. The ladies are illin’ for my bee bar, also. It is gorgeous.

And nothing made the Bedfellow happier than her bacon Bloody Mary, courtesy of McClure’s Pickles.

Despite being at the show from 9 to 5, staying to the bitter end when all the lights shut off, we ached our way over to Sir37, an event space close to the show for Food FĂȘte. We were so full and tired from the day that we couldn’t sample as much as we’d have liked, but the party was a lot of fun and the product selection rocked.
Why, you ask?

Because HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, NEW FLAVORS OF FRUIT 2 O. Please understand that if the human body is 70% water, I’m 80% Fruit 2 O. Fruit 2 O now comes in watermelon and lemon cucumber, and I now come in ‘obsession’ flavor. It tastes like sweat and lust.

I am forever gauche.

Such a good show. Stay tuned for the Top 15 tomorrow!

Luigi’s Limited Edition Birthday Cake Real Italian Ice

Happy birthday, America!

Full disclosure, I didn’t buy you anything. Later on this week I’ll fudge and pretend there’s a gift card in the mail that got lost but I can definitely send another one…(This is where I trail off) Don’t bother? That’s awfully kind of you. I won’t. Look, at least I remembered. Remember that one year that Christmas fell on Hanukkah? Awkward. And you know how much I love Hanukkah. Jesus was pretty bummed that year, but look, Hanukkah only comes eight nights a year, you know.

Well, I remembered, and better yet, I found something awesome to help you celebrate. No, it’s not that beer caddy hat you asked for. I’m not made of money, you know. It’s Luigi’s Limited Edition Birthday Cake Real Italian Ice, as opposed to the short-lived JWOWW Limited Edition Spray-On Tan Fake Italian Ice that came out last summer. Yes, it’s Luigi’s birthday, too. But look, it’s cool to celebrate multiple occasions, right? In any case, this is birthday cake-flavored Italian ice with sprinkles, so you can start freaking out like Nintendo Kid now.
The package is full-on birthday, with the kind of graphic shenanigans 90’s MS Paint designers only dreamed of. We’re talking balloons, ribbons, stripes, endless confetti, sprinkles, more sprinkles, different sprinkles, jimmies, balloons with Luigi’s smiling face on them, and games. Oh, the games. Even if you’re alone with only the whirr of surveillance cameras of your neighbor’s bathroom for company, the games on the back of the box make you feel like you’re at a real birthday party. There’s a word find, a one of these things is not like the other game, and a hidden pictures game. This seriously makes me want to go renew my subscription to Highlights.

Luigi’s has been around for 40 years. In that timeframe, I have exactly two memories of the company. The first was when a friend and I, in the third grade, would get Luigi’s cherry Italian ice every Friday, flip it over to reveal the frozen syrup crystals on the bottom, and eat it backwards. We formed our own club. And to think that later on, only one of us would be diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. The second was visiting my grandfather at his office, finding the endless stacks of empty cups washed out to use for crafts or paint. That man ate Luigi’s by the case and had the charm and health to show for it. So Luigi’s has been an omnipresent, if not always there product in my life, like an absentee father. And now they’ve come so far. Birthday cake Italian ice. It would prove to be either delicious or inedible.

Well, I have good news and bad news, America. The good news is that this Italian ice is pretty delicious. It has the luxuriously fatty mouthfeel and texture of full-fat ice cream, but only contains one gram of fat. It tastes like frozen cake batter- that is, the flavor is so concentrated and milky that it puts cake batter ice cream to shame. Perhaps the only strange thing about this is that the sprinkles, when frozen, take on an off, somewhat fruity flavor, but since they’re only scattered on top, it’s not a big deal. It’s also a little too gummy when melted. The flavor is great- very vanilla heavy, not overly sweet, and with a thick, custardy melt. The bad news, America, is that it turns out I am my grandfather’s granddaughter. I ate all of your birthday gift, America. But look, no hard feelings, right? Maybe when my birthday rolls around, you can create a few more jobs in the legal field? No? Too soon? Okay, America. I’m going to go order that beer caddy.

Starbucks Limited Edition Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino Ice Cream

Suckers. While most students are studying up for their finals this week at their local Starbucks, getting distracted by organic apple chips and hot sorority asses, I’ve eliminated the middle man and am sitting here, writing sixteen different papers with a pint of this new limited edition Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino ice cream courtesy of Starbucks.
You might be wondering what this is made of. While I was initially of the assumption that this would contain the dregs of vapidly sipped, half-finished Frappuccinos and vapidly typed, half-written novels, it’s actually a blend of strawberry and vanilla ice cream with chunks of frozen strawberries. In that sense it officially has 100% more strawberries than the strawberry frap. What gives?
Despite the fact that there’s no coffee in this, it’s definitely got enough sugar to keep you fueled well through whatever the night may bring, keeping you awake despite late-night singalongs from the resident guitar douche, surprise RA checks to investigate the burnt popcorn smell you’ve been trying to cover up for the last decade, and even your partially-horny animal roommate’s repetitive playing of Gotye. The pint is designed like an oversized coffee cup, or a regular sized coffee cup if you’re the type of person who enjoys cups that can comfortably fit the entire contents of a wine bottle and clearly demarcates the flavor and its ensuing limited edition status. One can only hope that with the success of this ice cream, Starbucks will release a similar “limited edition” stamp that it will imprint upon the tattooed foreheads of its less popular dreadlocked barristas.

It’s a pretty darn good ice cream. While I’m typically a staunch supporter of only cacao-laced ice creams, this does a good job making fruit less fruity and more like a milkshake, as all fruit should be. The swirl, a muted pink color, permeates the entire pint and the texture is thick and rich like most high-quality ice creams, with very little air. For me, this tastes pretty close to the original drink- heavily vanilla-influenced with a very creamy flavor and a secondary fruitiness. Strawberry lite, if you will, and although I looked very hard, I found little in the way of frozen strawberries outside of a few errant seeds.

I’m not sure where this fits into the spectrum of ice cream consumers. It seems like if you like chocolate ice cream, you typically stick to ice creams with a chocolate base. And I have the feeling that fruit-lovers will feel a little cheated at the lack of fruit chunks and diminished fruit flavor. Kids won’t get the reference and likely prefer something a bit more Red Lake 14ified. I guess if you’re a die-hard Starbucks lover or know someone who is, it would make a fun novelty gift.

Haagen-Dazs Limited Edition Spiced Caramel Biscuit Ice Cream

Ahhhh, another speculoos product makes me happy. I’m the kind of girl who, among other things, enjoys ingesting my Biscoff in liquid form. Ain’t no thang, it’s just a good product. I’ve tasted many a Biscoff spread and ensuing knock-off in my day, though, and one uniting characteristic of them all is a greasiness not unlike peanut butter, but with a terrible filminess like you’re eating straight up margarine. However, the new spiced caramel biscuit from Haagen-Dazs presents a new way to eat your Biscoff without feeling like you’ve just made out with a sweaty Pamela Anderson. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Once again playing off the delicious Danish cookie, this version offers a caramel ice cream crammed with crumbs and pieces of biscuit to delight the tongue and teeth. There’s certainly plenty of these little guys throughout the ice cream, too. While the caramel ice cream base offers a buttery, milk-dominant flavor reminiscent of the aftertaste of Brach’s caramel cubes, a very nostalgic flavor, it’s the cookies that are the real treat in this ice cream. The flavor gets progressively more intense with the size of the chunks and with the grainy, salty flavor and texture, my mind inevitably strays to wondering what this ice cream would be like with chunks of speculoos dough inside.
The caramel’s flavor compliments the cookie pieces quite a lot and with it, the spices come out quite vibrantly. While I didn’t taste the range of spices that seem to come out best in Biscoff cookies, I certainly got a heavy dose of cinnamon and sea salt, three things that I wouldn’t kick out of my ice cream bowl. Kind of made them taste like Teddy Grahams. Overall, it had a clean, satisfying flavor perfect to chase a hearty dinner with. Thanks again to Haagen-Dazs for providing me with the ice cream to sample!

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Super Pop Cakes Collection

I’ll admit, sulkily, and only when it’s pried out of me, that I have a bit of a competitive edge. I’ve lost board game partners over it, gym buddies, and oddly enough, study group members, but by far the most annoyed with this habit is…me. You see, through a culinary lens, I see myself as an organic experiment. What will happen if I feed myself this? Or this?
One of my favorite games is to take a food I like and eliminate it from a meal, seeing if I missed it. This can range from the simple, where tofu crumbles replace meat in chili, to the more effort-intense. Vegan cheese? In my pasta? It’s more common than you think. By far, though, the most arduous challenge came up yesterday, and it all started with a timely delivery of Jeni’s Ice Cream. You may remember the name- I’ve waxed poetic on them a few times and have been anxiously awaiting their new flavors. This time around, I could tell they outdid themselves with their new Super Pop Cakes Collection– not cake pops…think a little more sophisticated, with five special edition flavors riffing around cakes from across the globe.
Like a child on Christmas, I opened the box, tossing the paper aside and briefly playing with the included dry ice, to reveal the five flavors. For this collection, Jeni’s has gone international with flavors like Hummingbird Cake to Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake, with funky flavor mix-ins from rhubarb to kiwi, all chock-full of cake. Of course, I could only see one thing. In the entire five pints of ice cream, not one was chocolate. Aware of my chocolate ice cream-loving status, I stared, agape. How could this be? And more importantly, could they pull it off?
I couldn’t stand the pressure, so I flung the lid off the nearest container and took a spoonful. Holy cream, chocolate who? That would be the Tres Leches Cake with Here ‘n’ There Cherries that I was trying, fully pushing any memories of cacao from my mind. My god, what a condensed flavor. Although I was initially worried that the coconut in this would be overpowering, it played beautifully with the creamy, caramely flavors of the condensed milk. My sole criticism with this was that the “here ‘n’ there” cherries seemed to be “nowhere ‘n’ there” as the pint (yes, we demolished it) contained a single lone candied cherry. Nevertheless, still packed a serious flavor.
Moving on, we opened the brightest and pinkest offering of the set, Magnolia Mochi. While I confess I initially raised an eyebrow at the Barbie pink, floral-scented offering, this was Keepitcoming Love’s soul in a pint of ice cream. Her favorite flavors are floral and mildly sweet and she adores all things Japanese, so to have an artisanal version including these components left her absolutely giddy. The flavor was fresh, imparting a hint of lemon and a slight soapiness at the end. While I did enjoy this, I’m afraid I’ll lose an arm if I try to wrest this one out of her grip.
While Miss Love devoured Magnolia Mochi, I had my sights set on the Icelandic Happy Marriage Cake, featuring a skyr ice cream base, sugary toasted oat cake crumbles, and a rhubarb compote. I was smitten with this ice cream and kept coming back to it after I’d tasted the remaining flavors. The skyr had the clean, light flavor of ricotta and the oat cake pieces were huge, crumbling on the tongue and still very crispy. In each bite, I got at least one large piece. The rhubarb compote was surprisingly not completely frozen and, despite its jammy, slippery texture, was pleasantly tart.
The visual showstopper of the collection was unequivocally the Mango Kiwi Special Cake, resplendent in bright orange and green with enormous chunks of fluffy angel food cake that remained surprisingly airy despite being frozen. I was impressed that this flavor, with so many typically sweet components, was one of the most restrained of the varieties. That may have had to do with the fact that this was not ice cream, but frozen yogurt, so it had more of a bite and less of an unctuous creaminess to it than rainbow sherbert.
I was excited about Hummingbird Cake because it contained coconut and mashed banana, two flavors I’d recently sampled in ice cream of a similar quality. Creamy and tangy in flavor, reminiscent of the fluffy cream cheese frosting atop such a cake, it carried an intense and authentic mashed banana flavor peppered with cinnamon and nutmeg, earthy and sweet. The coconut wasn’t as present in this one texturally, but offered another layer of richness unto the dessert. Purportedly, there were pineapple chunks in this one but I didn’t really get any of them.
These ice creams were diverse and exceptional, going past the birthday cake standards and pushing the boundaries of what it means to have your cake and lick it, too. Chocolate? Take a back seat. There’s a new scoop in town. You can purchase the Super Pop Cakes Collection starting March 2nd at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and in their scoop shops, too!

Talenti Banana Chocolate Swirl Gelato

Okay, full disclosure, I’m not much of a fruit person, although I will tolerate fruit-flavored things. Raspberry jalapeno hot sauce? Absolutely. Actual raspberries? Not so much. Sign me up for Banana Runts, peach ice cream, and rainbow sherbet, but you can leave the rest behind. I’m trying to get better at this, and Talenti came out with a new flavor at the perfect time and sent over some coupons for me to try. While I couldn’t find their elusive Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, I did find Chocolate Banana Swirl. Like lemon ice cream, banana ice cream is far and few between, and I thought it would be interesting to get Talenti’s take on a banana gelato.
Well, they’ve done it again. This is a great ice cream if you like the flavor and crunch of frozen chocolate-covered bananas but without the phallic element. It had a fresh, creamy banana scent and flavor, very persistent when scooped right out of the container. I didn’t feel like this tasted artificial or weak at all. It definitely had the sweet ripeness of a mashed banana but with a silkier, more indulgent feel. And it’s very attractive- look at those swirls!
Bananas were the second ingredient in the ice cream, a choice that shows as soon as the pint is opened. With Talenti, a little goes a long way, and the strength of the flavor makes even a spoonful indulgent and satisfying.
With the little chocolate chips and ribbons of chocolate swirl, admittedly indistinct before melting but crunchy as an add-in, this tasted identical to the chocolate chip banana bread my mother used to make– fluffy and sweet with a delicate chocolate touch. Of course, I couldn’t help but mix a little peanut butter in, as that’s one of my favorite combinations.
Perhaps not the most visually appealing, but equally delicious and even tastier with the crunch from the peanuts. Talenti has created another winner, and I can’t wait to see what they do with chocolate and peanut butter. Yum!

Laloo’s Goat’s Milk Deep Chocolate Ice Cream

Ah, remember those blissful times when I assured you that I rarely contract illnesses of any sort? How confident and young I was in that time. It seems like only three weeks ago that I convinced you that I was some schlubby superwoman with lungs of steel, and now look at me. I’m bleary-eyed and congested two ways to Sunday and wandering around in an pseudoephedrine-induced haze because that is indeed how I roll when I got a col’…d. It’s the worst kind of illness because it keeps you up late at night without any of the fun and photobomb aftermath of a college party but all of the post-shenanigan symptoms. I’m too tired to get up and do anything productive but too energetic to nap for another week. Hell, I don’t even care enough to make myself matzo ball soup, so I’m settling for the next best thing: chocolate goat’s milk ice cream.
Yes, bubbies everywhere are shaking their heads and dropping their Arnold Scaasi-designed knitting needles. I’ve foregone the pervasive soup bowl and picked up a goddamned spoon. Two pieces of vital information prior to the shakedown: this ice cream was free, courtesy of Laloo’s. This ice cream was also seven freaking dollars and forty-two freaking cents at my local freaking organic co-op. Seven fitty for a pint of chocolate ice cream. Let that sink in and then, mom, understand that I did not pay real people money for this, because that would be insane. One tenth of a law school application (the part where you compose an essay in Twitter form) and one half of a movie ticket in Connecticut equals this ice cream. Laloo’s is an ice cream company specializing in lactose-friendly goat’s milk based ice creams with superior digestability. It’s ripe with probiotic power and I imagine it gives Activia a run for its money in both the olfactory and Jamie Lee Curtisian factors. With flavors like cajeta de leche and black mission fig, the company intrigued me. Despite my ambivalence to goat cheese, I gave it a go. This ice cream thankfully lacks some of the stronger, brettier flavors goat cheese typically carries, but has a rounded complexity that makes it present, but not front and center, on the palate. So, caprophobics needn’t run in the other direction.
This flavor, Deep Chocolate, boasts a short ingredient list with 77% Scharffenberger dark chocolate front and center and a surprisingly low caloric content- 160 calories and 6 grams of fat for half a cup. That doesn’t really help considering that I polished off the container in a day and a half, but works if you actually eat in moderation. Ahem. The chocolate flavor is fantastic, with a rich, silky flavor redolent with cocoa and a slightly salted, milky aftertaste that reminds me of eating bittersweet chocolate chips. The chocolate is distinct with none of that ubiquitous “chocolate flavoring” stuff typically employed in supermarket brands. That flavor alone compelled me to eat most of the pint, with no additional ingredient hacking. I was surprised that my sea salt and olive oil went untouched!
Texture-wise was where things got a little freaky. I’m not alone in thinking that this is an incredibly gummy ice cream. Unfortunately, it has the mouthfeel of a Fudgsicle and the price tag of gelato with a fudgy, dense slickness that sticks in the mouth like a pudding with a tangible chew. Not that I don’t like that, but it added a strangely generic feel to the ice cream that didn’t settle with its image and ingredient list. My other main gripe was that there was a serious filling discrepancy between pints. Of the two pints I picked up, each had air bubbles pocked throughout and the second one was missing about a half inch’s worth from the bottom, the ice cream settling atop the space without filling in. You can vaguely see the line where the ice cream did not fill in. A few air bubbles in a quart of Edy’s does me no harm, but when you’re talking about a dollar’s worth of ice cream making up those few tablespoons, I start to raise my eyebrows. I was happy to sample this and enjoyed it immensely, but I honestly can’t justify the steep price tag attached to this dessert.

Trader Joe’s Lemon and Triple Ginger Snap Ice Cream

Trader Joe’s and I are in the honeymoon phase of consumer relations. Every time I go I’m enamored by 90% of their new products, be they things I’d actually use, like chicken sausages, or things I don’t need or will never need, like gingerbread dog treats. Comparatively, every time I enter a Marshall’s, my previous score for weird, fancy products, God kills a kitten and I start frowning loudly. While it’s undoubtedly not in my best interest to buy my weight in salted caramel cookies or chocolate truffle brownies, this ice cream seemed too good to leave on the shelf. I’m generally not a huge fan of ice cream, so for a frozen confection to leave this big of an impression on me was a fairly big deal. And I totally dig the retro Trader Vic’s style font. The funny thing was, this was hardly a random sighting at the store. I’d seen a very positive review of this ice cream over the summer on What’s Good at TJ’s? and was hell-bent on finding some for my own consumption.

I like stepping outside of my comfort zone, even if it seems like a small step sometimes. Lemon and ginger, while tasty, just don’t stroke my tastebuds in the same way that chocolate and peanut butter do, or salt, or caramel, but this practically blew most of those thoughts out of the water. It’s difficult to find lemon-flavored confections with a dairy base- that is, non-sorbet or Italian ice versions of frozen treats. I have no idea why more companies aren’t honing in on this, because lemon ice cream is damned good. Think of a pudding-like, velvety texture cut by the slight tartness of lemon with a candied fruitiness and you’re scratching the surface of eating this ice cream.
But of course, I’d have never bought it if it was just plain old lemon. Its ambrosial scents were amplified with the addition of what Trader Joe’s called triple ginger, an element that’s more than just a totally badass name. The cookie mix-ins in this are lifted directly from Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookies, which contain powdered, crystallized, and fresh ginger, and the quart says that each container has no less than fifteen cookies inside. A bold claim, harkening back to the BS of Chips Ahoy! claiming that there were 1,000 chips in each package of cookies. 1,000 chips, my ass. Someone missed out on a killer class action lawsuit there.
Honestly, though, the Trader Joe’s claim? I believe it. In almost every bite there are quarter-sized chunks of soft cookies, and at the very least, each bite has an underlying crumbly sediment from the cookie crumbs. In a few rare, beautiful bites, we unearthed preserved cookies that were nearly whole. Ben and Jerry’s, take heed. This is how you do mix-ins.
One out of two Asian cat breeds approves of this ice cream.
The flavor of the cookies mingles nicely with the ice cream, as it brings a slightly spicy, comforting thickness to the soft and airy base with strong molasses and clove influences. I don’t really get the heat from the crystallized ginger, but it’s definitely there in the crunch and somewhat dry denseness of the cookies. Of course, no Asian-inspired ice cream is complete without a little experimentation. Sriracha? Yes, please. The certified condiment choice of hipsters and the homeless doesn’t quite work with this, but the heat was all I needed to convince me that this ice cream was freaking incredible. For two non-fruit lovers indifferent to ice cream, we’ve had this for a day and have eaten half the quart already. Now we’re going to go have a pillow fight and play Bloody Mary with our pants off. YOU JELLY.

Burger King Peach Granola Sundae

Soft serve ice cream at fast food restaurants is no astounding aberration from the Holy Grail of All Things Caloric. Restaurants like Shake Shack and Culver’s have turned it into a feat for the stomach and palate, with gourmet flavors of frozen custard and seasonal offers. And yet there’s nothing so quintessentially paired such as the classic hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s. Burger King has recently gotten into the soft serve game and sent me a gift card to try all of their new sundaes and shakes. Lacking the resources and time to write a fudge-stained suicide note, I decided to try them throughout the month and report my findings.

Burger King’s peach granola sundae is the last and latest of the big three to do their own spin on a seasonal sundae, following the success of the Wendy’s caramel apple Frosty and McDonald’s caramel apple sundae. Peach granola may not quite reek of fall as much as the other two, but it carries its own special place in the dwindling days before autumn really sets in. It bridges the gap between autumnal flavors and the last days of summer, a season that New England really seems to want to hang onto.
The composition of a sundae is key, as evidenced not only by the confusion in my server’s voice when I ordered this, as though I’d come from the King’s HQ and made it up on the spot to test her, and also when she made it. While I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo of her fatherly manager guiding her hands as she constructed it, trust me when I tell you it was worthy of an after school special. For $1.49, this is a neat little innovation on the part of the King. I think this is the first time BK has used peach as an ingredient, and it proves itself to be a worthy contender to more traditional sundae toppings. However, eating this is not an easy feat. If you’ve eaten frozen fruit before, whether before making a smoothie or just as a snack, you know how agonizingly cold it is to bite into one of those mushy, sweet pieces. It’s the same case in this sundae. Each bite had to be held in the mouth for no less than a chilly twenty seconds before the peaches began to thaw and the ice cream melted. The toppings retained the chill for much longer than they should have.
In this sense, it is worth noting that this is exactly the reason why a hot fudge sundae is so palatable. The counterbalance of hot and cold elements is comforting and adds a bit of variety and when it’s lacking in either, it ceases to be. With this, the balance was thrown off, and while the peach sauce had nice chunks of fruit and a sweet, jammy flavor, it was all ignored as I tried to diffuse the cold. Heating this up would be much tastier. The granola, applied in abundance, provided a nice crunch to the sundae, but lost its honeyed nuances in the sweetness of the ice cream and peaches. Eaten alone, it was fairly plain and bland. There never seemed to be enough granola to maintain a strong presence in each bite.
Overall, with a few slight changes to the sundae, I think this could be a strong contender for the upcoming fall season. I liked it enough to try it again, and as a die-hard chocolate lover, my endorsement for anything containing fruit is ground-breaking within itself. At the very least, it’s an innovative and different sweet treat than the standard sauce-drenched sundaes, and makes for a delicious seasonal dessert.

Ben and Jerry’s Schweddy Balls

Because the one thing my diet is lacking in are the alcohol-tinged balls of quintuple bypass survivors. I think, on my ever-expanding list of things I genuinely have no interest in putting in my mouth, sweaty balls, or really, the vast majority of testicles, are close to the top. When I saw this in the stores, though, it was hard to resist. Being a lover of all things malty and chocolatey, I figured I’d give it a swirl. And since Ben and Jerry’s have had some deceptively decent flavors lately, how bad could it be?

While I won’t go as far as to compare it to the tiresome task of teabagging, it’s not too far from sucking balls. The label, a hot mess of words, sweater-wearing badgers, and catch phrases to heighten its appeal, describes this as being vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum, loaded with rum balls and malt balls. If you’re not already familiar with the joke, it inexplicably capitalizes on the popularity of a very old Alec Baldwin sketch on SNL. Why this didn’t live and die in the 80’s, I’ll never know. In fact, I’m not entirely sure why Ben and Jerry’s is focusing on old television tropes in the first place, and at such a late time. Like its namesake, the joke is withered and stale. Ten years from now we’ll probably see LOLcats Lingonberry and wrinkle our bionic noses in confusion.
My cat loves eating Schweddy Balls.
The vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum tastes less like Cacique and more like Chuck E. Cheese, in a neutered, pervasive artificial tang that reminds me of a particular Weight Watchers “dessert” of frozen Cool Whip. As a base flavor, this limits it to being a fairly lackluster BJ. This ice cream lacks the packed denseness of other flavors and abandons the traditional chocolate or caramel swirled offering as well, perhaps to detract consumers from wondering if they were getting Schweddy Balls and other offerings from the same general region of the body.
In any case, the resulting product is bland-looking and bland tasting, and to add insult to injury, the package is a real eyesore. But with the shoddy quality of the balls, I’m not surprised. Getting malt balls or rum balls was a crapshoot both in number and flavor. An AC/DC hit this was not. While I enjoyed the frozen, foamy texture of the former, the latter was exuberantly boozy in a rubbing alcohol and Band-Aid fashion.
With a haphazard product like this one, it doesn’t take a genius to realize what a blatant marketing vehicle this is. And it shows in the quality of the ice cream, though I did note the subtle jab at making the ice cream a milky white vanilla, thin in texture and somewhat goopy. Regardless, this feels like the shoddy byproduct of a basement-dwelling manchild’s inner fantasy, and one that I hope will soon be castrated and whisked from the shelves.