Ben & Jerry’s: We Are Waffling

With summer finally looking like it’s on the horizon in our city, Mack and I are more consistently stocking up on ice cream. While our favourites usually involve chocolate additions, we are always willing to try new variations (I remember Mack’s dad telling me that when he used to work for Palm Dairies, the entire staff would have the opportunity to participate in quality control tests, with everything from sour cream to ice cream. Can you imagine?).

It seems customer-driven product names are all the rage these days (Doritos and Mountain Dew, among others), and Ben & Jerry’s is doing something similar with their newest ice cream flavour in Canada, currently named “We Are Waffling”. Canadians are encouraged to visit their Facebook site to pitch their ideas, which will eventually be whittled down to a select few to be voted on in July. The winner will receive a year’s supply of ice cream (I wonder how they define that? Some people could eat their weight in ice cream…).

As CBC Food Bytes noted, many of the submitted names so far make no mention of the specific flavour, and instead, are an attempt to represent Canadian pastimes like hockey or play on Canadian nicknames. My favourites so far are “Oh Cone-ada!” and  “One Less Lonely Waffle” (heh).

The ice cream itself, sold in the pint-sized container everyone knows and loves, combines two of my favourite things. I am not a tidy eater on the best of days, and as a result, have never had positive experiences with ice cream cones. So, in spite of my love of the waffle cone, I have always had to forego it for that ever-efficient cup. We Are Waffling lets me enjoy the chewy-sweet cookie-like pieces without the mess.

I was lucky enough to receive a full value coupon from the marketing company working with Ben & Jerry’s, so brought a pint home with us last week. Though the ice cream was definitely not as creamy or smooth as Breyers Double Churn, the ripples of fudge and intermittent waffle pieces made up for it somewhat. Mack said he had hoped for more waffle pieces, but enjoyed it all the same.

We Are Waffling

And if you’re wondering if we came up with a name suggestion of our own – we didn’t. We were too busy savouring our ice cream to think constructively. Yum.

Sharing the Breyers Love

A marketing company working with Breyers Ice Cream contacted me to ask if I wanted to sample three new flavours they launched this summer. The “bakery-inspired” Double Churn varieties include Dark Chocolate Velvet, Banana Cream Pie and Chocolate Cheesecake. I happily accepted, knowing my sisters would gladly join the tasting.

In addition to three full-value coupons, I also received a sharing kit complete with petite bowls, spoons, and a page of suggestions on how to share the love with ice cream. Though a few of the ideas were intriguing, including a banana cream bellini freeze (blend a scoop of banana cream pie ice cream with a quarter cup of peach nectar and a cup of ice) and ice cream shooters, I decided to share the love with our very own mix-in bar.

A trip to the bulk aisle of Save-On yielded gummy bears, dark chocolate M & Ms and vanilla Clodhoppers, perfect mix-ins for Double Churn Chocolate Cheesecake and Caramel Fudge Ice Creams. We had picked up Dark Chocolate Velvet on a different occasion, and though we did our best to locate Banana Cream Pie – visits to several retailers across the city were fruitless.

Breyers Caramel Fudge and Chocolate Cheesecake

Mix-ins!

With swirls throughout the box, Chocolate Cheesecake was the most eye pleasing. As I am not a fan of cheesecake, I appreciated that the cheesecake notes weren’t overpowering. My Mum in particular liked this flavour.

Ready to eat

Mack and Amanda leaned more towards the Caramel Fudge variety, enjoying the ribbons of caramel and chewy fudge pieces buried amongst the vanilla ice cream.

 

Amanda loves ice cream! (and her vintage Oilers sweatshirt)

My favourite was hands down the Dark Chocolate Velvet – I was a little afraid it would be too rich for my taste, but I think the extra creaminess and real cocoa helped temper the sweetness.

With my bowl of Breyers

We did find that the ice cream melted really quickly though – meaning that unless you tend to inhale food (*cough*Mack*cough*), you will be risking the emergence of a puddle before you’ve had a chance to savour your dessert. As well, although the ice cream was perfectly smooth and easy to scoop out of a freshly opened package, for whatever reason (including, perhaps, a too-cold freezer), it was rock hard on subsequent occasions.

I would buy the Dark Chocolate Velvet flavour in the future, particularly for a girls night in. Thanks Breyers for the samples!

We All Scream for Ice Cream: Marble Slab Creamery

As someone who enjoys, but doesn’t love ice cream, the success of Marble Slab Creamery in a city with a long winter surprised me. And while a location on the pedestrian-friendly Whyte Avenue made sense to me, the South Edmonton Common outlet boggled my mind – wouldn’t it make more sense to drive to the nearby Superstore to buy two pints of ice cream for the same price?

At any rate, I had a 2-for-1 coupon to blow, and Mack had a craving for chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, so we found ourselves at the South Common branch (1919 98 Street) at dusk on Saturday night. For whatever reason, their business was through the roof that evening – the line just kept getting longer. We had no idea why though – it was not particularly hot and most of the stores in the area had already closed hours before.

We both decided on a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a mixin of chocolate chip cookie dough ($4.95 plux tax). I can’t say I am particularly adventurous – in the few times I have been to Marble Slab, I don’t think I have ventured outside of this classic combination.

We had a few bites of our ice cream before taking it outside – the ceiling fan could not keep the small, overcrowded shop cool enough for our liking. But with just one small bench outside (and no trash can!), we resorted to standing just beyond the growing line, to watch with some amusement the cars that drove by, saw the line, and left.

Sadly, we both found something missing from the ice cream that night – the cookie dough tasted a little nuttier and less sweet than I remember from past trials, while Mack remarked that the waffle cone was probably the best part of his treat – not a compliment to a franchise that emphasizes its daily-made ice cream.

While I can’t say I won’t ever be back to Marble Slab, without a coupon, it’s definitely less likely.

Cone options

Mixin options

The crazy line-up!

Mack likes ice cream