Monday, April 7, 2014

A Day at Ben & Jerry's in Waterbury!

At the ChocoBanana
I told you I'd be back on Monday!! So the second day with the Ben & Jerry's crew in Vermont involved a quick visit to St. Albans Cooperative Creamery to discuss their continued efforts to buy milk and cream from local Vermont farmers only as a part of their Caring Dairy program. Afterwards, we headed to Waterbury and the factory!

The current flavors
Tours at the Waterbury factory are totally free and open to the public, so this is part of my trip that you can do yourself. The place is all about ice cream, right down to a collection of antique scoops. When your tour is finished, you allowed to try a few scoops of the day's experimental flavor (that's the ice cream up at the top,) ours was "At the ChocoBanana" banana-cinnamon ice cream with brown sugar caramel swirls and milk chocolate chunks. If anyone wants to recreate this in my life, I will gladly help with taste testing.

The Cores!!
Following a quick snowshoeing adventure (my first!), our group finally got to taste the new Cores flavors. If you haven't heard of these, each flavor has one or two different flavor ice creams with a soft "core" so you can add as little or as much as you want to your scoop. Part of the thought process behind the Cores was that the B&J team knows their fans really like eating straight out of the pint, so why not include a little topping?

Testing Cores
These are cut open regularly as well to see how the cores are coming through. They had to look towards sausage-making tools to find a way to bring this dream to life. Of course, cutting open of pints meant tasting because we couldn't just let ice cream go to waste.

Aftermath of Cores Tasting
I had thought the Peanut Butter Fudge (chocolate & peanut butter ice creams with mini peanut butter cups and a peanut butter fudge core) or the Hazed & Confused (chocolate & hazelnut ice creams with fudge chips and a hazelnut fudge core) would be my favorites since they both have things I love. But That's My Jam (chocolate & raspberry ice creams with fudge chops and a raspberry core) actually came out on top for me! The raspberry isn't too sweet or overwhelming and paired well with the chocolate. Of course, my bodega keeps selling out of Cores, so I haven't been able to have my own pint!

Flavor Graveyard
Our way out included a quick stop to pay our respects at the Flavor Graveyard. I still think they should do a zombie promotion where old flavors come to life for a limited time, mainly because I want to try Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough and Wild Maine Blueberry.

Ben AND Jerry!!
And the whole trip ended with a quick talk with the men themselves, Ben & Jerry! They chatted about the company and what they're up to now, before leaving us to enjoy dinner.

If you are looking to taking this trip or simply visiting the Burlington area, I highly recommend staying at Hotel Vermont (the communal tea & coffee areas were so great *and* fancy bathrooms!) and eating at The Kitchen Table, Hen of the Wood, Penny Cluse, and The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. All are serving some great food and drinks, but are not pretentious about it.

Lastly, a big THANK YOU to the entire Ben & Jerry's team for everything. They do this trip for a select  few food bloggers and writers and they really know how to host a big group. They are awesome! Now, go get your free cone tomorrow!!

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