I Snuck Into Ben and Jerry’s Factory For Love
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Well…by snuck I mean I paid for the admission ticket and entered with the group. And by love I mean that I love ice cream….
But if I said: “I Paid Admission To See Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, Which I Have An Unhealthy Love Of” that would be boring and wordy.
So! I Snuck Into Ben and Jerry’s Factory For Love!
It doesn’t matter though, because I checked off a bucket list item! A 40 Before 40 adventure is off the list!
And it was great!!!!!
Maybe it’s just me being a big and geeky fan of frozen novelties, but in my head I was thinking that it would be this big amusement park-like experience. I figured that everyone would have the same kind of excitement that I did and that it would be like going to Six Flags or Cedar Point.
*Insert mental images of roller coasters in which the cars are the shape of popsicles, where you cascade down a mountain of flavorous ice cream and careen through a canal of whipped topping. Also picture spinning sundaes instead of spinning tea cups*
Yeah, it’s not like that.
Actually it’s a much nicer experience than I had even hoped for and thought. It was busy, but not as busy as my nerdiness anticipated.
You drive up and park and take a steep-ish walk up to their campus. Outside there are a few stalls and picture opportunities. The stalls have snack foods for sale and activities for the kids (on this particular day you could tie-dye a shirt for a cost).
While walking further, you have a playground and the flavor graveyard. I love the concept of the graveyard because it is all of the different kinds of ice cream that are no longer with us. It’s a bit off to the side and resembles every bit of a graveyard, complete with iron gates and headstones.
Back in the main building is the “Scoop Shop” where they sell different concoctions made of their delicious ice cream. They even sell the Vermonster. This is comprised of 20 scoops of ice cream, four cookies, four brownies, four bananas, hot fudge, hot caramel, eight scoops of toppings and whipped cream. All for the low price of $50!
We didn’t get that. Considered it, but didn’t.
We got the Mini Vermonster. This was four scoops of ice cream, one cookie, one brownie, one banana, hot fudge, four toppings and whipped cream.
You got to pick what kinds of ice cream to put in it. And they of course had the newest flavors. I went with “Wake and No Bake”, “Milk and Cookies”, “The Tonight Dough” and “Chocolate Fudge Brownie”.
When it came to the toppings, I felt a bit overwhelmed and unprepared. I felt that I wasn’t equipped to make this decision on the fly. How can you just pair ice cream with toppings without taking the time to consider how they will taste together? Unfortunately, there was a line behind me and I couldn’t fully research my options as I wanted to. I went with M&M’s, Oreos, Chocolate Sprinkles and Gummy Bears.
The sprinkles and gummy bears were for my four year old daughter. And I wish I hadn’t gotten them. Sprinkles add nothing but aesthetic value to any dish, they have no taste. And gummy bears are always a horrible choice for a custard-like creation. They become far too chewy and are worthless. There is no joy to be had in a frozen gummy bear.
Also, I would have gone sans banana. It really took away from the fun of it. There were times that I thought I was getting a great spoonful of ice cream just to find out that it was mostly banana. When you go in expecting ice cream and get banana, it ruins the moment.
Otherwise, I can’t complain. And it came with a souvenir bucket, so I’ll always have that to remember the time.
Next to the Scoop Shop was a gift shop, where I of course purchased a t-shirt that said – “I Came, I Saw, I Ate Ice Cream”.
Then there was the tour. It was free for all kids under 12 and only $4 for adults. Once again, I was surprised by this. I’m used to everything being nickel and dimed and it wasn’t the case here.
As for the tour itself, it was really interesting! It started with a movie that detailed the history of Ben and Jerry. Did you know that they got started by jointly investing in a $5 course on how to make ice cream? They tell you how too, they don’t even make it that secretive – they wrote a book with their recipes! And did you know that the reason their ice cream is so chunky in nature is because Ben has very little sense of taste? The only way he can taste the flavor is if there is a lot of it, so that’s why they make it like they do.
We walked through the factory and saw the process of how it starts in milkshake consistency, gets flavor added and goes on to the freezers (-40 degree freezers!). We couldn’t take pictures during this part because they told us they don’t want Haagen Dazs stealing their production secrets.
Can’t blame them.
And then we went to the tasting kitchen. And got free samples! Everyone got to try one of their new flavors – Milk and Cookies. I definitely didn’t complain. Free ice cream is great in itself, but this was free and good ice cream. Even better.
Did you know?
- Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is free trade?
- They partner with local farms to get their milk and cream, and also with some farms in Holland?
- Each employee gets to take home THREE PINTS of ice cream every day that they work?!
I may be relocating…and also getting a new job….