[Review] Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

(50) Days of Pumpkin: Day 33

“Pumpkin cheese?” I said to myself. “What the hell is pumpkin cheese?”

Looking around the brightly lit store, I tried to signal to anyone who might be able to help me. I desperately needed an answer. After what felt like an eternity, a store employee finally walked past. “Excuse me,” I said, pointing at the refrigerated cooler, “could you explain to me what exactly ‘pumpkin cheese’ is supposed to be?”

“Sir,” she said, rolling her eyes while reaching up to turn the container ever so slightly, “it says ‘Pumpkin Cheesecake.'”

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“…Dumbass.”

Contrary to popular misconception, Ben & Jerry’s fall seasonal flavor does not taste like pumpkin cheese. It does, however, taste like pumpkin cheesecake. Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream is described as “pumpkin cheesecake ice cream with a graham cracker swirl.” That’s it. No crazy mix-ins like gobs of dough, and not multiple flavors of ice cream either. This is, by Ben & Jerry’s standards, a pretty simple and straightforward flavor.

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Uh oh. Lifting the lid off the pint, it looks like Ben and Jerry might have kept it a little too simple. There are visible flecks of spice throughout, and thin streaks of graham cracker swirl, but right off the bat, this ice cream’s appearance doesn’t get me too excited to dive in. Luckily, it’s ice cream and I’m always excited to dive in.

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Wow. My first grade teacher always told me to never judge a book by its cover, to which I now reply, “This is ice cream, not a book” and “Hey, this ice cream is delicious!” The pumpkin flavor is strong here, thanks to the pumpkin puree, and it actually tastes pretty natural and fresh. It’s not a sugary, artificial pumpkin taste at all. The base ice cream truly tastes like a full pumpkin was mashed right in. The spices hold their own, too. We’ve got cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves–basically the usual pumpkin spice suspects, except for maybe allspice.

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On to the cheesecake aspects. There’s real cream cheese in the ingredients, and the ice cream is indeed creamy. But to be honest, I didn’t really get the full cream cheese tang that I was hoping for. The graham cracker swirl, for its part, tastes fantastic–full of honey flavor and gritty in texture. But similarly, I was let down with how little of the swirl effect I got in each spoonful. This, in my opinion, is where Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake comes up short.

Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream is a solid fall flavor, especially if you’re a pumpkin lover. The “cheesecake” factor isn’t quite there, as the cream cheese flavor and graham cracker swirl don’t pack quite as much of a punch as I would have liked. Those are two very minor gripes, but they’re just enough to keep this flavor from becoming a “Best of Class” inductee. But hey, at least it’s not pumpkin cheese.

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream
Price and Place of Purchase: $4.09 at Target
Nutrition Facts (serving size-1/2 cup): 260 calories, 140 calories from fat, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein.
In a Nutshell: Authentic fresh pumpkin flavor. Cream cheese and graham cracker swirl are there, but come up short. Missed it by that much. Books ≠ ice cream. Pumpkin cheese.
Overall Score: 9.5 out of 10
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