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No matter how much your friends love everything bagels—and ice cream—don’t spring this on them without disclosing the flavor first. It may be too jarring for your relationship to bear (even if you’ve been through job losses, multi-state moves and the shock of a pandemic). At least, that was our experience after assembling a crew to taste test Jeni’s renowned Everything Bagel ice cream. You see, in the interest of science, we wanted to see if people could guess what flavor they were tasting without having any clues about it beforehand—the ultimate test of how spot-on its flavor is. But as it turns out, savory ice cream is something you need to be mentally prepared for in order to enjoy.
“Wait, wait, what is this? Did you whip French Onion dip into ice cream?!”
“Why is there nothing sweet about this? Am I getting Ranch dressing with chunks of bread in it?”
“Are we being Punk’d right now?”
Within seconds, our three testers recognized the tangy kick of cream cheese and realized that heavy onion and garlicky flavor was due to the “everything bagel gravel” (aka a streusel made up of poppy and sesame seeds, dried onion and garlic) swirled throughout the confection. Bingo!
Unlike wine tastings, where you often nod along and focus very intently to detect the taste of raspberry, fresh dewdrops on hibiscus grown in early May and Grandpa’s cigar box, Everything Bagel Ice Cream tastes very much like you accidentally dropped your morning bagel in a blender of unflavored ice cream, whirling the two together until you had a shockingly spot-on, scoopable frozen treat. You have to hand it to Jeni’s Ice Cream for creating something so incredibly accurate—and for being so self-aware that yes, this isn’t your typical dessert, and yes, people will have strong opinions about it. In fact, it was so wildly buzzed about when it launched as a limited-edition treat last year that Jeni’s decided to rerelease the flavor this year, making Everything Bagel ice cream available in scoop shops and by the pint online as of March 21.
“If you like Jeni’s everything bagel flavor, you are the most chaotic evil there is,” tweeted one reviewer.
“A truly demented flavor,” another wrote, adding: “A+++ would buy again.”
With responses like that, we had to enter the chat. Hence, the taste test. And one friend’s near-gagging over the result, calling into question a decade-long friendship, while another downed additional spoonfuls. It was such a mind trick; so unexpected to have the strong flavors and scents of an everything bagel served within the chill and texture associated with a frozen, creamy treat that minds were, truly, blown. For some, the knee-jerk reaction was disgust; it was too much of a paradigm shift. For others, it was oddly intriguing: How did Jeni’s capture something so perfectly?
When sampling Jeni’s Ice Cream flavors, the brand recommends zeroing in on four key areas: flavor (taste and scent), texture (how smooth the ice cream is between your tongue and the roof of your mouth), body (its thickness/chewiness, essentially) and finish (how long that flavor lingers afterward). Here’s how that breaks down for Everything Bagel ice cream:
Flavor: Garlic and onion come through stronger than anything else, though there are hints of the tang of cream cheese and a slightly buttery taste.
Texture: Like Jeni’s other flavors, Everything Bagel is exceptionally smooth, though there’s a very slightly chalkiness to it on the backend. The streusel “gravel” provided a nice crunch, but wasn’t tooth-crackling hard.
Body: The ice cream itself has an elasticity to it, making it a little chewier than your typical scoop, which also gives it a nice heartiness. If it were thin or runny, it’d give off more of a drinking-ranch-dressing vibe, and as much as we love ranch, we’re not here for that.
Finish: Oh, this flavor lingers. A decaf espresso later, and we could still taste faint glimmers of garlic. Keep gum on hand.
When you know what you’re getting yourself into, there’s a strange joy from experiencing such an unexpected mash-up. You find yourself taking bite after bite, trying to process how such wizardry works. That said, is it likely to dethrone Salty Caramel or classic chocolate as your all-time fave? Probably not. Will it shift your focus from doomscrolling and give your family and friends something lighthearted to talk about for an evening? Positively.
Jeni’s Everything Bagel Ice Cream is available while supplies last. At $12 a pint—if you buy it online—it’s certainly not cheap, but it is an experience.
BUY IT ($12/PINT)
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