A few months ago we received what was hands-down the yummiest wedding gift in history: a case of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I had never heard of Jeni’s until then, but now it seems like I see them mentioned all over the place. To paraphrase a line from Zoolander, “They’re so hot right now.” And with good reason, because Jeni’s ice creams are the most. delicious. thing. ever.
Jeni’s is based in Columbus, Ohio, and they currently have stores in Columbus, Cleveland, Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, and Charleston, South Carolina. If you live in one of those places, count yourself lucky because you have access to the full panoply of flavors. If you don’t live in one of those places, you can use this link to find locations near you that carry some of the delicious Jeni’s flavors. You can also order from their website, which is what my friend JV did to ship some to us. The product arrived in good condition (in late July…in DC) with plenty of chill-packs to keep it frozen during transit.
Now on to the flavors. Oh my god, the flavors. Bangkok Peanut. Brown Butter Almond Brittle. Goat Cheese with Red Cherries. Pistachio & Honey. Salty Caramel. Whiskey & Pecans. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are currently 25 ice creams, 8 frozen yogurts, 2 sorbets, and 6 ice cream sandwiches (made with cookies baked in the Jeni’s kitchen). Jeni’s uses high-quality, directly sourced ingredients for every product.
From the Jeni’s website: “Today, Jeni and our kitchen team makes every ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt from the ground up with grass-grazed milk, local produce, American bean-to-bar chocolate and select ingredients from around the world, including exquisite Fair-Trade-Certified African vanilla and Dutch cocoa.”
The ice creams are rich, creamy, and full of genuine flavor. There are no chemicals or weird, unpronounceable ingredients in Jeni’s. Many of the flavors are gluten-free. Full nutrition information for each flavor is available on the website.
I think my favorite flavor (of the ones I’ve tried) is the Brown Butter Almond Brittle. I thought Salty Caramel was my favorite, but then I tried the BBAB. Don’t get me wrong, the Salty Caramel is phenomenal. It’s the right balance of sea salt and caramelized sugar. The container description says, “Initial notes of burnt sugar give way to mouthwatering saltiness,” and that is EXACTLY what it tastes like.
But something about the Brown Butter Almond Brittle made me want to eat it every day forever. It’s got the sweet/salty dichotomy that I love so much in desserts, and it has crunch from the almond brittle, and it tastes like butter and brown sugar mixed together, despite the fact that there is no actual brown sugar in it. All I can say is that it’s magical.
If you like Pecan Pie, or better yet, Bourbon Pecan Pie, then the Whiskey & Pecan ice cream is going to be right up your alley. Jeni’s uses a whiskey made locally by Middle West Spirits, and it’s the perfect complement to the honey/vanilla/butterscotch flavors of the ice cream. And of course it has whole pecans mixed in. I wish I had some right now!
Jeni’s is also doing a Middle West Whiskey Eggnog for the holiday season: vanilla, sea salt, nutmeg, homemade egg custard, and locally produced Bourbon. I usually drink my eggnog with a little Bourbon in it anyway, so this is pretty much the perfect Christmastime ice cream.
The Bangkok Peanut is blow-you-away spicy–I would swear there are Thai chilis in there, but nope, it’s just cayenne. What’s interesting about the Bangkok Peanut is how each flavor unfolds one after the other. My first thoughts were, “Wow, peanut-y. And coconut-y. And, whoa, spicy!” It’s not for sensitive palettes, that’s for sure.
We also had the Lime-Cardamom frozen yogurt, which has the tartness of lime up front, but a fragrant, herbal finish. And the Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet is a marvel. It smells like Riesling and tastes like pears. You will swear you’re eating a fresh pear, it’s unbelievable.
Jeni’s does events and catering, and they have a Pint Club, where you can sign up for quarterly ice cream deliveries. That’s dangerous! They’ll send three pints–one signature flavor, one perennial flavor, and one limited edition flavor–four times a year. Prices vary depending on where it’s being shipped; to DC, for example, it would be $200 for the year. That sounds like a lot for ice cream, but it works out to about $16.66 per pint, with shipping included. Walking into a store and buying a pint will cost you $12, so it’s pretty reasonable from that standpoint.
Yes, objectively speaking, $12 is an insane amount to spend on a pint of ice cream. But this ice cream is insanely good.