To top off the novelty and luxe of having luxury ice cream, I was honored to have met the Flavor Guru of Ben & Jerry’s, Peter Lind, the man behind the creations of flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Fudge Brownie. I mean, it’s a big deal to finally put a face to the name. During this workshop that he was here in Singapore partially for, we were educated on how the quality checks were done, a little bit of history behind Ben & Jerry’s and the raw products they use, and how the flavor, Couch Potato, came about.
Interestingly, Ben & Jerry’s started off as a company producing bagels. But because it wasn’t cost-effective during those years, they decided to start running an Ice Cream company instead with just $5,000, in 1978. Flavor Guru, Peter Lind, joined the a decade later, knowing that his job scope was going to be tasting every, single, kind of flavors and desserts there are around the world. He thought, like many of us would, that it would be an easy feat. But what consumers don’t see is that it can take years to come up with a single flavor; a flavor that works. Peter has since not looked back and has been with the ice cream brand for 25 years now, seeing ice cream being hand-cranked to big machines now, making ice cream in just a mere 25 seconds.
Couch Potato – sounds just like everyone of us! Okay, I shall speak only for myself. It’s apparent that people have been toying with the idea of ice cream with potato chips, but no one has really perfected it, since chips gets soggy naturally after a short while in, let’s say milk (an ice-cream equivalent). After multiple experiments, from chocolate-coating the chips (which still fail because the machine would crush it, leaving the edges exposed and thus, soggy again), to finally, grinding the chips with rice syrup and chocolate-coat it into a ball. This proves to be harder to break down and possesses a higher percentage of remaining in tact after production. I thought the minds behind this were brilliant; so this, tossed in swirls of salty caramel in vanilla ice cream base, gives you, Couch Potato.
For me, the flavor is a home-run. Salty caramel is totally my thing. Though vanilla ice cream isn’t my first choice (chocolate is, of course!), I thought it went especially well here with the savories, neutralizing the flavors making it more holistic. Be warned though, don’t expect to get a 100% non-soggy clusters of chips in the tub, though majority would be (mine’s about 80% good).
I didn’t know this until I attended the workshop, that Ben & Jerry’s isn’t just all about money-making; they’re about making differences to the lives of the less-privileged. For one, the brownies in the Chocolate Fudge Brownie are from the disadvantaged factories. The well-respected brand has also only bought milk from growth hormones-free cows, not forgetting contributing over a million dollars on a yearly basis to Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. As can be seen stamped on their tub, they are a supporter of Fairtrade too. This has allowed me to view Ben & Jerry’s, still positively, but in a very different light.
Couch Potato is available in stores now.
Special gratitude to Fiona and the Golin Harris team, and Flavor Guru Peter Lind and the Ben & Jerry’s team for the hospitality and hosting the workshop.
Photos by Kathleen.