Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Punch Line is a Welcome Break from the Hype Machine. -UPDATE

Ben & Jerry's X Netflix Punch Line - Shop Rite

Food and flavors are subjective. I know that, you know that, but we all love to hop online and compare tastebuds with strangers. (Hi!) Why do we do it?
Whether it's to find out if a product is worth your money (which is my main goal), or for validation in your opinions, or just to see how your taste-buds compare to others. We feel compelled to try new and potentially gross food, then turn to our friends and say, "You gotta' try this!" It's just human nature. But, in doing so, we fall victim to the hype of new-ness and extra-ness. 
I've been blogging for a long time, I think 7 years (I keep forgetting how long exactly) and from what I can tell, I'm an oddball.

I was a big fan of the cheeseburger pizza from Papa Johns, that everyone else hated, I don't understand the obsession over birthday cake/red velvet/ sugar cookie everything. I knew Swedish Fish Oreos were going to suck, so I just didn't buy them, and when it comes to the excessive sugar-rush culture of milkshakes covered in so much stuff you can't even hold the glass, or stuffing brownies with snack cakes, cookies, and icing to the point where it's the size of a New York Bagel...I just opt out. (Speaking of bagels, remember all the hype with ultra stuffed bagels a few years back on Instagram? I skipped those too.) If it's your cup of tea, all the more power to you, no judgements here, but what I am really tired of is the hype

We are constantly bombarded with new products, and we get so wrapped up in the new-ness, the hype, that we lose our objectivity on if things are truly good or not. It's just good because it's new, and it's new so you have to try it! I am a cog in that machine, I did my part of the Oreo hype-train back in the day (looking at YOU Fruit Punch Oreos) but at some point I got tired of chasing things down, only to have them taste "meh." Why waste all that time, energy, and money acting as free advertising for a company that doesn't even care if you exist for a product that ends up being "meh?" 

All of this rambling and build up brings us to today's review. Punch Line is the latest Netflix-Ben & Jerry's pint and by today's standards it's boring, but it just so happens to be amazing. 

There are no bells and whistles here. No edible gold leaf, or pop-star branding, unicorn colors, massive globs of cookie dough, or novelty shaped chocolates. Just an ice cream base and two, pretty standard mix-ins. It got a few write-ups online from hype beasts, like Buzzfeed, but it was quickly buried under the next big thing, which is a pity because I think it's brilliant. 

I am a Cherry Garcia lover, and if you are too, you will absolutely love this ice cream. 

The base has a boozy sounding name, "brown butter bourbon and almond," but it doesn't taste boozy at all. It has a delicious, Almond Roca-like flavoring with a hint of complexity from the aforementioned brown butter. Despite the verbiage, I didn't find that either base was distinctly unique on their own. The two are both similar flavor and color-wise, but even so, they're absolutely freaking delicious. Imagine brown butter and marzipan, mixed with a creamy vanilla ice cream base. That is what this tastes like to me, and as a marzipan/amaretto junkie, it was love at first bite. 

Then we had the mix-ins, a few bits of cherry with roasted almonds. I love almond flavored things, but I am not a huge fan of actual nuts in my ice cream, but I don't even mind them in this mix. The ones I found in the base were finely ground, similar in texture to the filling of a Reese's cup, and they added to the overall marzipan-like nature of the base as well as adding some much needed texture. If I had any criticism, it would be to amp up the amount of cherries, because I love having fruit in my ice cream and found the "chuckles" of cherries to be too few and far between for my liking, but as-is, I still absolutely love this pint. I might even love it more than Cherry Garcia!  

Actually, I just thought of this, you know those Toasted Almond Good Humor bars? The ones covered in tan and white cookie bits? This is a grown up, and better, version of the inside of that bar. With actual almonds and bonus cherries.

I am legitimately sad that this is a limited batch product, and I can't remember the last time I felt that way. I am going out of my way to get another pint of this before it disappears. The hype train works both ways, in this instance, the fact that this pint is understated works in my favor. The demand for it just isn't there, which means I can stock up! 

In short, I destroyed this pint. 
If you're a fan of almond-anything, you'll probably like it too. (I love it.) It is well executed, deserves praise, and a moment in the foodie-hype sun. But the rapid turn-over is so intense that it ended up being a, "blink and you'll miss it," item. 
Take a breather from the hype train and give it a try while everyone else is still starry-eye'd over the next new thing.

UPDATE: My second pint had much larger almond pieces, more like actual slivers than ground-up bits. So the almonds may vary from pint to pint, I prefer the tiny ground up bits more. Then, as far as the cherries are concerned, still delicious, and still rather rare. Needs more cherries, Ben & Jerry! 

Fans of these would also like: Aldi's Thank You Cherry Much, Ben & Jerry's Boots on the Moooon, Target Cinema Snack, or Big Gay Ice Cream American Globs
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