Is Jeni’s Ice Cream Worth The Price?

So in my last two ice cream posts (see here and here) I mentioned my belief that I have become something of an expert in small batch ice creams. And yet for a long time there was a huge gap in my knowledge — Jeni’s Ice Cream. Oh, I’d heard of Jeni’s before, and heard that it was excellent. But it costs a staggering $12 a pint, so the few times I saw it for sale here in Brooklyn (Jeni’s is an Ohio brand, but can sometimes be found in specialty shops like the Greene Grape and Union Market) I could not bring myself to spend the money on it. Back when I wrote a profile of Phin & Phebes I got into a discussion about ice cream with one of the owners, who assured me that Jeni’s was indeed worth the price. So a few moths ago during a trip to Brooklyn Fare (the market, not the chef’s table) I splurged on a pint of Goat Cheese With red Cherries.

It was good; better than good. But worth $12? Probably not. The goat cheese gave the ice cream an unusual (not bad, just unusual) texture, and the creamy texture is what I had been hearing so much about. So even though I had decided Jeni’s wasn’t worth the price, I heard a nagging voice in the back of my head that I hadn’t really given Jeni’s as fair shot, I hadn’t done my due diligence. So when I saw a seasonal special, Sweet Potato With Torched Marshmallow, for sale at Union Market I scooped it up (forgive the pun) and made up my mind that this would be the deciding pint.

I don’t know if the photo does it justice, but this was the most wonderfully decadent pint of ice cream I’ve ever eaten. The sweet potato flavor was pronounced, and not overly sweet. The marshmallow chunks were soft and had a distinctive smoky flavor. It was worth the $12, though it’s obviously not an everyday kind of ice cream. I’ve since bought a third pint, something called Brambleberry Crisp. There is no such thing as a brambleberry though; the creamy vanilla ice cream is shot through with a jam of blackberries, black raspberries, and black currants. Even better were the chunks of oat streusel dotted throughout. I suppose the fact that I bought a third pint means I had my answer.

I’d say that for special occasions, Jeni’s is totally worth the price. For those “cry yourself to sleep in front of the TV while contemplating your insignificant place in a cold unforgiving universe” occasions, best to stick to something cheaper.

Jeni’s Ice Cream

  • Rob C

    Currently working my way through every flavor of Jeni’s. I’m willing to pay $12/pint at least once to try a flavor. The dark chocolate is easily the best chocolate base in the world of ice cream, and that is coming from someone that is not even a huge chocolate fan.

    Brooklyn Fare is my go-to location too. I just emailed them last week about expanding their line of ice cream brands.

  • http://www.eattoblog.com Howard

    @ Rob C – if i wasn’t trying to lose weight i probably would work my way through the flavors too. a noble endeavor, i wish you luck.

  • http://www.donuts4dinner.com donuts4dinner

    Hey! I saw your comment on another blog, clicked over here, and was pumped to see that your first post is about Jeni’s. I’m originally from Ohio, and Jeni’s opened in Columbus just before I moved to NYC. I looooove that Jeni’s is in Brooklyn Fare, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy any; it’s soooo expensive here, and it always looks sooo freezer burned. I just make sure to eat a ton of it every time I’m visiting my family in Ohio. If you’re looking for suggestions, Brown Butter Almond Brittle is the favourite of everyone I know in Ohio, and the corn and blackberry one just sings of summer. Glad you enjoyed!

  • http://www.eattoblog.com Howard

    @ donuts4dinner – those flavors sound amazing. i’ve been trying to eat less ice cream lately, you’re not making it easy.