Saturday, March 24, 2012

Media Fear Tactics Against Ice Cream --or-- How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the FroYo

The act of eating store-bought fruit ice cream is usually disappointing. One bite and the realization hits that it just isn't as fruity as hoped. The tartness and sweetness are diluted when in competition with the fruit of the cow. But still the devoted continue to line up for each newly introduced tree-born concoction to grace the grocery-store freezer.

Cue conspiratorial laughter.

A few aisles over, in the open refrigerated section, the yogurt rests easy knowing that there is a double standard working in its favor. While the level of fruitiness is disappointing in ice cream, there is a tradition of appreciating the subtle contributions fruit makes to yogurt. In truth, the actual fruit content ratios of the two products are similar, so why the love for fruit yogurt and the disappointment with fruit ice cream? Lemme break it down for ya. Quite simply, there is always a low expectation when eating yogurt, but we settle for because we've been taught to not eat ice cream all the time. Having interviewed every lactose-friendly person on earth, I can report that no one actually prefers frozen yogurt; it only gets eaten because of the smear campaign against ice cream. (Yes, sometimes yogurt is the more healthy option, but not always! I ask you, what about the health of one's soul?)

The resurgence of froyo has made itself nauseatingly clear with baby talk chain names and their cutesy-wootsy color palettes. (One exception: Snog, an international chain started in Britain. Visit their wittily chosen URL and treat yourself to their witty taglines.) Ben & Jerry's saw this as their golden opportunity.

Ben & Jerry's has released a new line of products called Greek Frozen Yogurt. Intrigued, I put my FroYo differences aside and picked up a pint of both Raspberry Fudge Chunk and Blueberry Vanilla Graham. Both offered the slightly sour flavor one expects with frozen yogurt, but the texture was creamy enough that it reminded me of a light cheesecake ice cream. The vanilla in the blueberry flavor gives a fullness of flavor that reminds you why vanilla is popular. The raspberry flavor had gobs and gobs of fudge chunks, a favorite mix-in of mine that Ben & Jerry's is usually uncharacteristically stingy with.

Though they are simply feeding on our fear--note that there is no mention on the packaging of any health advantages to the new product--Ben & Jerry's have actually created a tasty product befitting of their brand. Each flavor takes something classic, imagines another flavor to give it an edge and then throws in loads of chunks. Other flavors currently available in the new product line are Strawberry Shortcake and one more featuring the fruit that shall not be named.

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