We did a blind taste test to see if people could tell the difference between Ben & Jerry's new vegan, dairy-free ice-cream flavors and their original counterparts — and which they like better.
The new ice-cream flavors hit store shelves later this month, but Ben & Jerry's was kind enough to send samples for us to taste this week. We tore into them like animals immediately because ... free ice cream! Just kidding. Actually, before we started, we grabbed a couple pints of the original dairy versions of Chunky Monkey and Chocolate Fudge Brownie to compare.
We wrapped each pint in thick paper so no one could tell which was which, and then we invited the SheKnows New York City office to try them all.
Long story short: Of course everyone could tell which was vegan and which was dairy. But did they think the new incarnations were delicious? Some did, though almost everyone said they still prefer the dairy flavors to the vegan flavors.
Responses ranged from tepid ("I mean ... it's tolerable") to mildly approving ("Actually not bad! The other is still better, though") to enthusiastic ("I love it!" drawn with a heart). One taster said they'd be all right with the vegan if they had no other choice.
Meanwhile, tasters just couldn't help expressing how much they love the original Chunky Monkey. "YASSS," wrote one. "You can tell before you eat it by the texture! Dairy."
Results diverged widely for this flavor. Two said it tasted "like ice" and "like freezer burn," but another taster was enamored: "The chocolate ones are VERY CLOSE." Another said of the vegan , "I like this one."
And, naturally, people felt compelled to gush about the original: "SOOO GOOOD!" "Yummm!" I mean, there's a reason why this ice-cream brand is so popular.
As for the other two flavors sent, P.B. & Cookies seemed to be the favorite. And we all agreed Ben & Jerry's made the right choice in doing their dairy-free ice creams with almond milk. It tastes much better — and has a more ice cream–like mouth feel — than the coconut-and-cashew–based vegan ice creams we've tried.
All said, I suspect that if we were served one of these vegan ice creams at a party without knowing it was vegan, we probably wouldn't even notice. At any rate, it's definitely the best vegan ice cream I've ever tasted. I think the boys from Vermont nailed it — for now, until someone finds an even better formula. This one will be hard to beat.
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