Unfortunately, I’m not one who often keeps ice cream in the house because I have no self-control and I know my limits—I will, without a doubt, finish an entire pint in a single sitting. But when I talk myself into buying some anyway, Jeni’s is one of my go-to brands. It’s not just the quality of the ice cream (which you know is top-notch if you’ve tried it before). For me, it’s the fact that Jeni’s is always delivering ultra-creative flavors that I’ve never seen elsewhere. And although the standard chocolate and vanilla numbers from Jeni’s are fantastic, I love their unique, unexpected offerings even more.
If you’re attempting to move past the vanilla in life, trying some of Jeni’s more exciting flavors is a solid way to start. Here are some of my absolute favorites from the brand.
It’s official: Jeni’s goat cheese with red cherries is my all-time favorite ice cream flavor. I never knew I needed this flavor combo before I took that first bite; since then, my world has changed. Of course, cheese and fruit go hand-in-hand in their solid, unfrozen forms, so it seems natural that they would also pair perfectly when they come together for an ice cream flavor. The goat cheese flavor here is blessedly not subtle, and it has a supremely creamy texture that makes every scoop feel like silk. Add in the tart cherries with just a hint of sweetness, and you have what I consider to be Jeni’s very best flavor.
If you love the goat cheese and red cherry flavor as much as I do, then you’re probably also going to fall for one of the brand’s newest arrivals: wedding cake. And no, it’s not the cake you would eat at your boring accountant cousin’s wedding. This flavor features buttercream ice cream that’s dotted with sweet lemon curd and tart blackberry ice cream base. They didn’t forget about the texture, either—chunks of sponge cake keep things interesting even when you’re halfway through the pint. (I speak from experience.)
Another one of Jeni’s new offerings, the everything bagel flavor is not something I never, ever would have dreamed up, and that’s exactly why I’m not on the Jeni’s payroll. Of course, they had to start with the cream cheese icing. Then, you’ll enjoy the expected additions of sesame and poppy seeds—they’re important for the texture, as is the streusel. But here’s where things get weird: They also added garlic and onion to the mix. Trust me when I say I know how terrible that sounds, but I assure you that this is actually a genius combo. The fact that human minds created such a delightful spectacle of dessert gives me hope for the future of our species.
Admittedly, the brambleberry crisp flavor is comparatively simple and straightforward, but it still deserves to be said: It’s delicious. The jam that winds and weaves its way through the creamy vanilla ice cream is made from blackcurrants and blackberries, offering the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. The streusel crumble offers just the right amount of texture, and since it has a touch of cinnamon in it, you get a lovely, spicy note that balances well with the fruit. Though this flavor isn’t as wild as some of the others on this list, the simplicity is what keeps me going back for more. This is plain old comfort food at its finest: Think grandma’s pie.
If you’re like me, you’ve been stung by one too many “watermelon”-flavored treats. You thought you were going to get the light, fresh flavor of a ripe watermelon, and instead, you were lured into the false appeal of a sweetened, vaguely cherry-like artificial flavor instead. It’s enough to make you swear off of watermelon-flavored anything forever, but hear me out when I say that Jeni’s watermelon taffy flavor is going to offer you a whole new watermelon-flavored experience. First of all, this ice cream is tart in the best way possible. The buttermilk and yogurt that make up the base of the ice cream offer the perfect texture to display that candy-like tartness at its finest. This may be a summer-inspired flavor, but it’s one that I could easily eat all year round.
Samantha Maxwell is a food writer and editor based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @samseating.