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Anyone who watched the two recent Dispatches documentaries titled "Secrets of the Supermarkets" may understand why I recently vowed to reduce my weekly dependence on the big four and to try and source my food from local producers direct or in the very least a local butcher or grocer. Hence it was that I found myself last Sunday attending at a rather ungodly hour the local farmers market in Olney. As I staggered away with my bags full of corn fed chicken and vegetables covered in dirt one bag did contain a rather less healthy option, a large apple and rhubarb pie, well man cannot live by meat and vegetables alone, at least this one can't. Now you cannot eat pie without ice-cream so I still ended up in my local convenience store that was having a buy two for £5 offer on Ben & Jerry ice-cream.
I have long been a fan of Ben and Jerry ice-cream especially Cherry Garcia flavour. The two partners started their ice-cream empire in rural Vermont in 1978 and have been churning out imaginatively titled ice-cream ever since. They rely heavily on marketing with the product pitched at those looking for a trendy image when selecting their ice-cream but they back this up with some great tasting quality flavours that unfortunately come at a price premium. Cherry Garcia draws its name from the guitarist Jerry Garcia and the idea was suggested to the ice-cream moguls by a fan.
Starting with the packaging, Ben and Jerry's ice-cream is very distinctive and comes in a 500ml cardboard carton with a cardboard lid that's fits back on after use. All of their ice-creams have a picture of Ben and Jerry on it and this particular one is a bright purple in colour and the product details on the back. There is not a great deal of nutritional information on the label and what there is gets repeated in about six languages.
The ice cream is quite hard when it comes out of the freezer and it needs to sit for a while otherwise your spoon will look like it has been in the hands of the annoying Uri Geller.
The flavour is the most important factor and this ice-cream has a really smooth taste. Made using pure cream the cherry ice-cream has a strong flavour. What I do like especially is that the chunks of cherry are quite juicy, I have often found with other brands that the fruit is partly iced and crunchy to the bite, this also has the effect of watering down the flavour but that is not the case here. I have also found with some ice-creams that they have a slightly grainy texture which reminds me of ice-cream at the seaside when the wind has whipped up the sand however with Cherry Garcia the ice-cream is smooth and does not dry out the inside of your mouth.
To be honest when I first tried this brand I did not particularly think that the chocolate chunks added much to the product, probably because I'm not a big fan of dark chocolate. Each chunk is a reasonable size, about the size of your nail and like the cherry pieces you get a lot in each tub. However what they do give is yet another texture to the contents and also a slightly bitter taste that helps to enhance the sweet cherry flavour.
The one draw back to this ice-cream as with the entire Ben and Jerry's range is the price. A 500ml carton will set you back £3.49 at Tesco, which is not cheap but comparable with other premium brands.
This product does not contain nuts despite what the Dooyoo description says however it does have an allergy warning as the machinery used in its manufacture may have come into contact with nut based food products.