I have always wanted to try Chunky Monkey. When a reader chimed in that we should try his favorite flavor, I put it on my list of flavors to scout. When I found out that Fred had not tasted this classic Ben & Jerry's flavor either, I was shocked. How could this flavor have passed us by? I had always heard of Chunky Monkey being a good flavor, but I tended to opt for the chocolatier flavors along the way and skipped clear over this one.
When looking at this container, there's no mistake that it is a Ben & Jerry's pint, but it looks toned down compared to the other Ben & Jerry's containers. Still really colorful and descriptive in my favorite recycled paper carton, it lacks some of that "pop" of the other flavors that go overboard on the graphics.
So what's a chunky monkey? The best I can guess is chunky describes the added novelty items (walnuts and chocolate chunks) and monkeys are well known for eating bananas. Instead of naming the ice cream "Walnut Chocolate Chunk Banana Ice Cream" they thought "Chunky Monkey" might be a riddle but a fun name nonetheless. And who hasn't used chunky monkey as a term of endearment here and there?
I've got to tell you that this is the best banana ice cream I have had in many moons. This is the best non-homemade banana I have ever had period. The ice cream is smooth and rich (thanks to the fat content) and pleasantly banana. Real banana. I am so sick of that fake banana taste in all the ice creams of my past. This banana rocks. I love it so much, I would even forgo the walnuts and chocolate pieces (whoa, someone take my temperature).
The walnuts varied in size. Sometimes I came across practically ½ of a walnut and sometimes I found myself eating finely chopped pieces. Nonetheless, they were fresh and flavorful. There texture did however rub the roof of my mouth raw. That part was a little unpleasant, but I am healed up now. And for once, for once, no chocolate covering on the nuts. This was a wonderful surprise.
The chocolate pieces were in the shape and almost as large as an Andes candy. No, really! They were thick and seemed toward the semi-sweet side of chocolate, which is right up my alley and blended well with the mild banana.
There were a few voids throughout the container, but like I said, the banana stands on its own. This is now one of my keepers; a flavor I will call upon on a regular basis when ordering a cone or cup from our local Ben & Jerry's. Thanks Pauley (our reader)!
"Chunky Monkey" ice cream is Ben & Jerry's fourth best selling flavor behind "Cherry Garcia," "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough," and "Chocolate Fudge Brownie." It's a wonder that it took us this long to taste it and I was pleasantly surprised when Kris showed me the container.
I've always wonder what in the heck a "Chunky Monkey" was. Apparently, I never wondered too much because the Ben & Jerry's web site says, "A fan wrote us about her summer camp job encounter with mischievous campers who presented her a goofy food-mash they called "Chunky Monkey." Monkeyshines aside, she - & we! - knew the name was a keeper." So, now that I'm still left wondering what a "Chunky Monkey" is, I'd welcome the mischievous campers who suggested the name to the fan who suggested the name to Ben & Jerry's to write me and let me know the story. I'd love to hear it!
On to the tasting! Ben & Jerry's "Chunky Monkey" ice cream doesn't come in your typical Ben & Jerry's container. Normally, the container would be wildly filled with imagery that really sets the mood. By contrast, "Chunky Monkey's" container is simply a yellow background with pictures of banana slices, chocolate chunks, and walnuts. This is great for seeing the ingredients inside, but where's the monkey? I think it would be appropriately cute. No matter, I was still ready to open the container and get my first taste of this popular flavor.
All Ben & Jerry's pints, including our "Chunky Monkey," come sealed on the outside now, which is very nice. I certainly prefer the exterior seal to the interior, but without a choice, I simply want my ice cream to be sealed. The ice cream was full to the top and there was a large chocolate chunk visible on top. And when I say "chunk," I mean that it was a real chunk. Not a chip. Not a sliver. Not a piece. No, it was a chunk! And just from opening the ice cream container, I could already get a hint of a banana scent.
My first taste of Ben & Jerry's "Chunky Monkey" let me know that I would be coming back for more. The ice cream was definitely, without a doubt, banana. If I didn't know any better, I would think I was actually eating a frozen banana. My first bite also contained a walnut which, combined with the banana ice cream, was very reminiscent of a sundae.
Kris was busy with her tasting, so I went for the chunk on top of the ice cream. Hey, she can get her own chunk later! It's a good thing I went for the chunk because it was good chocolate. It mixed well with the banana ice cream and gave a taste even more like a sundae. Bite after bite, I continued to find either a chunk of chocolate or a walnut or both. But, even with these stuffed ingredients (all the way to the edges), I could eat the banana ice cream all by itself given how good it was.
Overall, Ben & Jerry's "Chunky Monkey" ice cream lived up to its reputation as the fourth-best selling flavor. The ice cream had a great taste and I'll certainly look for it in the freezer section sometime in the future. I may not know where the name came from, but I do know that "Chunky Monkey" is a delicious ice cream.