When an eagle-eyed Philly-area vegan spied yet-to-be announced new dairy-free Ben & Jerry's flavors, we couldn't wait to try them. When reached for comment, its Grand Poobah of P.R. (yes, his real title) just told us he could neither confirm nor deny that the new flavors would be announced by mid-February (but that they were delicious). And finally, the day has arrived — and with a whole new flavor we didn't even know was coming.
The three new flavors, Caramel Almond Brittle, Cherry Garcia, and Coconut Seven Layer Bar, use the same almond milk base as the O.G. certified vegan dairy-free flavors. And they weren't playing around when it came time to introduce diary-free alternatives to their family of pints. It took 60 tries before they finally hit the jackpot: a vegan alternative that could stand proud next to their line of beloved pints. Creamy, but without the cream. Impossible? Not to the people who already taught us that we could imagine Whirled Peace and that humans could eat Phish Food. To see if the new flavors were equally delectable, we assembled some R29 taste-testers who were are regular ice cream devotees. Could we be swayed?
In a word, yes. Having never tried a vegan ice cream before, I had a lot of assumptions: compared to regular ice cream, it might be icy, or chalky. Or, even if it tasted pretty good, I might still rather be eating the real thing. All those misconceptions flew out my head as soon as I tried my first spoonful of the Caramel Almond Brittle.
Like the O.G. vegan ice creams, the new flavors use an almond milk base that mimics real ice cream to a creepily accurate degree. Velvety-smooth, the almond brittle flavor also packed a flavorful punch. The almond base matched perfectly with the almond brittle flavor, reminding one taste tester of a wedding cake. The salted caramel swirls added a nice contrast to the small bits of crunchy toffee. It would taste delicious with a healthy drizzle of chocolate on top.
Next, we scooped into the Coconut Seven Layer Bar. So packed with coconut flavor, we had to double-check to make sure the base wasn't coconut milk. Just as creamy, this was also the chunkiest of the pack. Fudge, walnuts, and swirls of graham crackle and caramel filled ever bite. If you're skeptical of almond milk base, this one is a good place to start: the delicious coconut flavor almost completely masks any almond flavor.
The final flavor we tried was Cherry Garcia. Like its original, dairy-based older sister, it's a cherry-flavored base with cherries and fudge flakes. It got high marks from tasters for how well the almond base flavor complimented the cherries.
When we tried to choose a team favorite, however, we fell into infighting. And when we couldn't declare a winner of the three, it became clear that it also meant there were no losers. Vegans, lactose-intolerant, and regular 'ole ice cream eaters alike all gave the new pints two spoons up.