Ben & Jerry's Now Has Vegan Ice Cream, And We Got To Taste It

And of course it's good.

02/03/2016 09:16 am ET
  • James Cave Lifestyle Staff Writer, The Huffington Post

Vegans, Ben & Jerry's heard your call.

The ice creamery that does what it wants turned to its hungry fan base for the company's next invention, its first-ever run of vegan-certified ice creams. Sorry: "non-dairy frozen desserts," technically speaking.

The flavors -- Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey, Coffee Caramel Fudge, and P.B. & Cookies -- taste as rich as their creamy cousins, except without the eggs and milk. Instead, each gets its decadence from almond milk and coconut oil.

Ben and Jerry's

"For years, non-dairy fans have been forced to watch with envy as their friends enjoyed their one-of-a-kind Ben & Jerry's flavors," the company said in a statement. "But now the tables have turned."

Kirsten Schimoler, Ben & Jerry's principal food scientist who invented the flavors, told HuffPost that the new line was partially made as a response to a petition asking for Ben & Jerry's to make vegan flavors that got more than 28,000 signatures.

"For many, Ben & Jerry’s sets the ice cream agenda," the authors of the petition wrote. "They are in a position to lead the way and make non-dairy ice cream a mainstream choice, like meatless Mondays. Offering an ice cream for their vegan customers would signal their support for cutting back on animal products."

Schimoler said it took a few years to develop the right balance of ingredients (because there was no pre-existing process, she and her team had to come up with one) to make a creamy dairy-free mix that had the same mouthfeel and texture as ice cream -- the longest it's ever taken to make a new flavor. As a result, Ben & Jerry's is even making its own almond milk for the base.

So how does it taste?

Here's how we rank them, in order of creamiest and most delicious, to "thanks, but no thanks."

  • 1 Coffee Caramel Fudge
    Ben and Jerry's
  • Creamiest: This baffling creation tasted and felt like it was full of milk and dairy and all the creamiest creations. The coffee extract and caramel swirls balanced really well with the almond milk.
  • 2 P.B. & Cookies
    Ben and Jerry's
  • Less Creamy: You can't really fool around with peanut butter and cookies -- but it was a good call to mix it all with almonds (all the ingredients in all four flavors are vegan-certified, by the way).
  • 3 Chunky Monkey
    Ben and Jerry's
  • Getting Drier: This Ben & Jerry's classic was nearly indistinguishable from its dairy doppelganger, it just wasn't quite as creamy. The rocky road was just as crunchy though, with all the classic nuts and chocolate.
  • 4 Chocolate Fudge Brownie
    Ben and Jerry's
  • Oh, No It's Obviously Not Ice Cream: This was the only one that really stood out as being made with almond milk. It had a much drier mouthfeel, almost chalky. However, the brownies, also vegan, were still delicious.

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