While this blog is primarily a fan of local scoop shops, it acknowledges that sometimes a person just wants to stay in for the night. That being said, this is one of my Freezer Favorites.
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My first experience with wacky ice cream flavors came via Ben & Jerry's. Though I was likely aware of the brand before this, I don't think I demanded my parents buy some until, during my freshman year of high school, I saw Phish Food featured on an episode of Felicity--the pre-haircut first season, for anyone who's asking.
Phish Food sounded quirky and different, which appealed to both my sense of self and my palate. Its contents reminded me of a Milky Way Dark, the candy bar that in the late 1980's put dark chocolate on the map for an entire generation of trick-or-treaters. But Ben & Jerry's's creation would prove far more memorable, more influential, more enduring. The runny caramel swirl was a revelation, setting the bar for what caramel swirl mix-ins could actually be. The marshmallow swirl was somehow both gooey and fluffy. The fudge fish were softer than your average chip and would linger long enough to melt on your tongue like real chocolate. And the chocolate base was darker and richer than the weak sauce offered in most half gallons. This was super premium ice cream, baby, and there was no turning back.
Despite their many admirable social stances, the quality of Ben & Jerry's products has declined in recent years along with my opinion of them, but the fact remains that they were a major part of my ice cream coming-of-age. Phish Food was the gateway drug to super premium ice cream and, given the age I was at upon first tasting it, it certainly helped that the brand prided itself on being a little different. Over the years, there have been many Ben & Jerry's flavors that have been in frequent rotation for me. Some of these are among the dearly departed in the Flavor Graveyard (Pulp Addiction and Dave Matthews Band® Magic Brownies™ - Encore Edition), while others are still in production, for now at least (Milk & Cookies). But Phish Food was and is ice cream royalty, an undeniable star of the grocery store freezer, loved by one and all.
Ben & Jerry's Phish Food, I salute you!
For more info on the hilarious history Ben & Jerry's check out my two part book review of the nonfiction book, The Inside Scoop.