Over on dontforgetlove I seldomly write about ice cream. But actually, isn’t ice cream one of the foods that is most tied to our childhoods, most wrapped up in memories and good times? For me, the answer is YES! I have so so many food stories about ice cream. One of my favorites growing up was Ben & Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie and it was always a big treat when my parents would buy it for me. As an adult, I’ve been known to indulge in Ben & Jerry’s from my corner deli’s freezer (ok, I’ve been known to eat it for dinner every now and again!) but I do try to limit it to special occasions since it is really hard to have just one scoop. Today, I support this brand of ice cream because they are committed to local, sustainable agriculture, they only use milk without hormones, and by 2013 all of their major ingredients will be Fair Trade Certified!
Last night, I had the fantastic opportunity (thanks Karyn!) to get an exclusive sneak peak at the brand’s newest flavor, Late Night Snack, which is a collaboration between the ice cream duo and late night host Jimmy Fallon. Along with several other food bloggers, I got to sample the new flavor and then attend a Q&A session with Ben, Jerry, and Jimmy on Jimmy’s NBC set. The event got a lot of buzz as it should; the ice cream is delicious and two main ingredients are Fair Trade Certified.
Here is a little background info for you: A while ago, Jimmy did this sketch on the show, which is hilarious, about Ben & Jerry’s. Jimmy said he had done the sketch just for fun, for the love of the ice cream, not to get paid or promote the brand. The company was thrilled that Jimmy and his crew enjoy the brand so much and they sent Jimmy and his staff free ice cream following the show’s airing. Ben and Jerry also mentioned that they might like to work with Jimmy in the future. As Jimmy Fallon neared the second anniversary of his show, it seemed like a great time to collaborate and release this new flavor.
After lots of discussion about what ingredients and name the ice cream would have, here is what they came up with: “Late Night Snack”, a vanilla-based ice cream, with caramel swirls and chunks of kettle cooked potato chips dipped in chocolate. Apparently the brand had been trying to develop a potato chip ice cream for years and had been unsuccessful until now. The key is that the chips are kettle cooked and thus retain their crunch. Also, the chips are broken up into little pieces and then shaped into balls and rolled in chocolate which further prevents mushiness. This process results in a bite of ice cream that is both salty and sweet, a big crunch of chip and chocolate wrapped in the softness of vanilla bean and caramel.
What do I love about the ice cream? Well, of course the taste! I don’t think I’ve ever had a Ben & Jerry’s flavor I didn’t enjoy. If you love a savory and sweet combination, THIS is the ice cream for you. However, the very very best thing about the ice cream is that the cocoa beans that go into making the chocolate and the vanilla beans that make the ice cream base are all Fair Trade certified.
Do you know about Fair Trade products? Jimmy Fallon said he didn’t know what Fair Trade Certified meant before this whole process. Ben and Jerry told the audience that only 30% of Americans are aware of this certification and one of their new missions is to promote the idea of buying Fair Trade Certified. So here is what fair trade is in a tiny nutshell: Many farmers in developing countries are forced to sell commodities well below the cost of production and barely make subsistence wages. Through special agreements that set a price floor, goods that are certified as fair trade (often sugar, coffee, vanilla, cotton, etc.) allow farmers a chance to make a living wage and grow their businesses. Since I feel that we can vote with our plates, I try to buy fair trade when I can and I encourage you to do the same!
Here are some photos from the event, my apologies for their clarity as all I had was my phone:
And here’s a proper photo from the Boston Globe:
It’s great that there are ways to combine social conciousness and good eating. Thanks to Ben & Jerry’s (and Jimmy Fallon) for another delicious way to do so.