Behind the Scenes at Ben & Jerry's Is a Lesson in Lactose 'n Tolerance (PHOTOS)

ben & jerry'sLast week, I was lucky enough to spend a caloric 36 hours up in Burlington, Vermont with the kind folks at Ben & Jerry's. If you like eating ice cream for breakfast, post-breakfast snack, pre-lunch snack, lunch, post-lunch snack, pre-dinner snack, dinner, and dessert, well, then this was your kind of trip, too. I ate my face off and frankly, I do believe that I did ice cream-lovers nationwide proud with my enthusiastic, unstoppable, and somewhat frantic ice cream consumption in the day and a half that I was there. But between spoonfuls and pauses to wipe the sugar-sweats from my upper lip, I managed to learn a thing or two about one of the yummiest ice cream makers on the planet.

I've already told you all about their delicious Greek frozen yogurt and how it'll make moms smile, but now I'd like to share with you a behind-the-scenes, all-access look at Ben & Jerry's -- some of the details will make your ears, and your taste buds, perk right up.

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I started out the day with a tour at their Waterbury factory. The tours are open to the public, so if you're in the Northeast area, I highly recommend stopping by, if only for the free ice cream at the end. Yum.

Anyway, during said tour, I was fortunate enough to get to taste a flavor right off the line. That means it was made less than a few minutes ago and HOLY JESUS H. CHRIST was it good. It was kind of melty, entirely creamy, 100 percent smooth, and contained the most flavor I've ever had in an ice cream, ever. Let's put it this way, if I could marry the stuff, I would. (Wait, that may actually be possible in VT. I'll look into it.)

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The love of my life: Pistachio Pistachio B&J ice cream right off the line.
While I sank my entire head into this pint, someone was cutting up pints and showing me the difference between, gasp, Haagen Daz's pistachio ice cream, and Ben & Jerry's. Guys. The photo speaks for itself. One word, one syllable: CHUNKS.

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B&J's to the left, Haagen Daz on the right. Like, come ON.
I then took a little stroll between the pre-lunch snack and lunch to pour one out for my favorite discontinued flavors in the graveyard.

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R.I.P. Holy Cannoli. R.I.P.
And this was all before 1 p.m. Before the end of the day, I will have met with C.E.O. Jostein Solheim, Ben Cohen, and Jerry Greenfield, worked in one of B&J's Scoop Shops, created a flavor, and listened, as well as I could with brain-freeze, to an animated bunch of employees eagerly share just how awesome Ben & Jerry's really is, politically and socially speaking.

To that end, if you're interested in learning about Ben & Jerry's three-part mission statement and can tolerate comic sans-like font, you can read about it here.

But generally speaking, there are a lot of things that make Ben & Jerry's a wise choice for people looking to buy some premium ice cream. They give back to the community a crap ton, care deeply about the environment, use hormone-free milk, cage free eggs, and free-trade ingredients whenever they can, and try, intensely, to save the world as much as one corporation possibly can.

Not much more you could ask for from a pint of ice cream, now is there. Well that, and chunks. Can't forget about the chunks.

Do you buy Ben & Jerry's? What's your favorite ice cream brand?

 

Photo via Qfamily/Flickr; Lindsay Mannering

 

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