Ben & Jerry’s teases San Francisco flavor

Ben n Jerry's Berkeley

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A couple of shops are cleverly placed in two of the biggest tourist traps of the Bay Area (Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf). There is one shop right down Center Street in Berkeley. And at some point, you know you’ve picked up a pint of the good stuff at Safeway on College Avenue (though it’s now closed for a year). You know the place we’re talking about. Admit it; it’s on the tip of your tongue.

Ben & Jerry’s is a favorite sweet treat of the Clog, so when we heard that it tested a San Francisco-inspired flavor, we were all over that … until we learned that it won’t necessarily be available at the grocery store.

The flavor was part of the City Churned promotion that is going on through September. Ben & Jerry’s chose five cities and is giving people in those cities different voting options for ingredients. Voters can also name the new flavor. The promotion culminates in a one-day event in which the final flavor is made available to all in the city. The San Francisco flavor was just recently announced.

While we’re very excited that San Francisco was involved, we do have some qualms about the city’s flavor. First of all, the name is problematic. SFist pointed out, and we agree, that “San Fran-tastic” is just borderline insulting — and underwhelming — to describe a great Bay Area city. Why should we play along and slur our favorite metropolis’ Spanish name just for the promise of ice cream?

Our second objection: Why no rainbow colors to celebrate the city of LGBTQ pride? Well, we’ll give Ben & Jerry’s this: It wanted to “make a mix as unique as San Francisco.” That must have involved more than one kind of ice cream topping, and rainbow sherbet is a little limiting for mixing in things like peanuts.

Thirdly, while we are all for democratizing dessert — and for offering fair trade vanilla and coffee as options — the mix is a bit overwhelming, especially given its rather unimpressive title: cookie dough, marshmallows, Kika’s Treats, caramel, TCHO chocolate, vanilla and coffee is a dizzying array of ingredients. Maybe that’s a good thing and Ben & Jerry’s signature, but maybe the flavor shouldn’t have been so haphazardly concocted.

Finally, we will continue to complain that San Fran-tastic is not yet a reality. Ben & Jerry’s tested the flavor at San Francisco’s City Churned event on Saturday, but you won’t find this in the grocery store freezer. It looks like the recipe that was demanded by the people will not be available for all the people anytime soon.

Will Ben & Jerry’s go back to the drawing board for San Fran-tastic and actually make it for everyone? What flavors will New York, Portland and Seattle — the next three cities in line — “City Churn” out? Is it possible that Ben & Jerry’s will move on to other cities such as Berkeley? Whatever the results, this is quite the tease for ice cream aficionados, no matter what city they hail from.

Image source: Ryan Greenberg under Creative Commons

Contact Jessica Rogness at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @jessarogness.