Review: Mission to Marzipan Ice Cream from Ben & Jerry’s
According to NASA, various animals have been getting blasted into outer space since 1948. Counting a monkey named Albert, several Russian dogs, and a litany of mice amongst their ranks, these intrepid explorers have never actually included a cow.
So excuse me if I was skeptical when approaching Ben & Jerry’s Mission to Marzipan. I’ve seen Mission to Mars and it didn’t include any portly bovine hippies, and it sure didn’t include the sweet, spicy notes of anise that make Marzipan the distinctive Italian dessert flavor it is.
I’m on record of proclaiming Ben & Jerry’s to be overrated, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t get in my normal shot about how annoying it is to pony up for Super Premium ice creams from a company which wants to “blah blah blah” me with propaganda about their activism. Seriously, that’s great Ben and Jerry, but the only thing I want my four buck pint of your ice cream to actively do is make me fatter and happier. Fortunately, I bought this at a discount grocery store that sells stuff past the “sell by” date, and with 1040 calories per pint and an amazing taste, this ice cream promises to definitely make me both fatter and happier. Good deal all around.
Depth and intensity of flavor is something that can be tricky for a food blogger to quantify, and despite the litany of adjectives in my arsenal, I cannot find one strong enough to convey the taste of Marzipan in this ice cream. The taste of the swirl – by far the best part of the mix – is both nutty and sweet, with the latter element hitting you after the initial burst of concentrated almond flavor. It reminds me of an authentic Biscotti in taste, and although the almond cookie chunks are a tad gritty, they provide the richness and satisfying chew an Italian version of Cookies and Cream. The cookies are actually incredibly reserved in almond flavor when compared to the swirl, and almost strike me more as an oatmeal cookie (something our friend Dubba observed). The ice cream itself has a creamy texture that’s both rich and smooth without being overly sweet, holding a respectable vanilla flavor that does well to allow the Marzipan Swirl to shine. I just wish there were some actual almonds in here. I’m finding myself wanting some crunch for contrast, and the over-the-top almond flavor would be great.
Now, when they talk about quality of ingredients, they must mean it. How do I know? Because the “sell by” date on my pint of ice cream ended in November of 2010 – a whole ten months ago. That the flavors could still be this strong and the textural integrity of the ice cream remains says a lot about just from where Ben & Jerry’s is starting from. And when it comes to Mission to Marzipan, that flavor, is, dare I say, out of this world.
GrubGrade: 8.75/10 (Exceptional)
Nutrition: Ben & Jerry’s Mission to Marzipan
Pros: Learning more about the history of space travel. Sweet, concentrated flavor of almonds and anise. Creamy ice cream. Buying a Ben & Jerry's pint for a buck at a discount grocery outlet.
Cons: Busting out second-grade level puns for an ice cream review. Admitting I shop at a discount grocery store. Could use the addition of almond chunks for crunch. Getting fat off of hippy ice cream that's been out of date for 10 months.