First published on 9 Dec 2009. Updated on 11 May 2011.
Tell us a few things we didn't know about ice cream.
Ben The smoothness of the ice cream depends on the size of the ice crystals – the faster you freeze the ice cream, the smaller the ice crystals. This is the purpose of an ice cream making machine. People don't seem to know that the person that invented the ice cream making machine was a woman called Nancy Johnson and surprisingly, her invention was never patented. Jerry Ice cream is also the food that people most break their diets for. Ben It's also the only food that is eaten while frozen. That seems obvious, but it's surprising for most people to realise that. Jerry And the best time to eat ice cream is when it's almost melted.
What flavour of ice cream have you always wanted to make but never could?
Ben No such thing! We can make any ice cream we want! I don't know if there's anything we haven't thought of making. Jerry Well, we considered watermelon ice cream, but it wouldn't work. It's too subtle a flavour.
What's the silliest flavour for an ice cream you've come up with? Did you use it?
Ben That has to be peanut butter and jelly. We created it, but it wasn't a big hit. It tasted like you were eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Jerry Yeah, and nobody wanted to be feeling like they were eating a sandwich while they were eating ice cream.
What's your favourite flavour?
Jerry Has to be English toffee crunch, but that's not available in Australia yet. Ben At the moment it's Chunky Monkey. I hadn't had it in a while and tried it again for th
e first time again this week. It's delicious!
Have you always been in the ice cream business? What were you doing before Ben & Jerry's?
Ben We kind of stumbled into ice cream making. In 1978, after I'd been fired from a series of jobs and Jerry had failed for the second time to get into medical school, we decided to take a $5 correspondence course in ice cream making. We then opened our very first scoop shop in a dilapidated gas station in downtown Burlington, Vermont. And the rest, as they say, is ice cream history. Before ice cream I'd been a night mopper, a taxi driver, a short order cook, a baker's helper, a pottery wheel delivery person, a pottery assistant – to name a few previous occupations. Jerry I was a lab technician in a biochemistry research lab before we started making ice cream.
What's the secret to the perfect sundae?
Ben Balance, structure and contrast. Jerry As well as texture and variation. Ben Yeah, they're the key elements to making a good sundae. Take the Brownie Special, one of our sundaes available at our Scoop Shop in Manly. You start with the chewiness of a chocolate brownie, the creaminess of the ice cream, the silky hot fudge sauce, and the crunchiness of nuts on top (if you choose). Delicious!
What country eats the most ice cream in the world?
Ben The US eats the most ice cream. Jerry And then New Zealand comes in second, I think.
What's your least favourite ice cream flavour?
Ben That's a hard one. We haven't brought any of the crappy ones out to Australia! But personally, I don't like anything with half-baked goods in it. Jerry I've never found a flavour I don't like.
Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop Manly, 25-27 South Steyne, Manly, Sydney, 2100; Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop Broadway, Hoyts Broadway Cinemas, Lvl 2, Broadway Shopping Centre, Cnr Bay St & Broadway, Broadway 2007. (02 8966 9219)