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Story Behind Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia

The Fascinating History Behind Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia and Phish Food

Two of Ben & Jerry's most iconic flavours — Phish Food and Cherry Garcia — continue to remain at the top of the popularity list for more than just being delicious. Flavour Guru Sarah Fidler credits it back to nostalgia. "When people eat ice cream, it often brings them back to memories of their childhood. We love to amplify that experience by providing flavours that make them feel like a kid again," she said. She said many people keep reaching for these same flavours because it's what they ate nonstop as kids, which makes sense, considering Phish Food came out 20 years ago this year and Cherry Garcia 30 years ago.

Cherry Garcia, believe it or not, was a fan submission from way back when. Cherry Garcia was originally submitted as an idea from a Grateful Dead fan; it was posted on a bulletin board inside a scoop shop before being written in to the main office in Vermont. Phish Food, on the other hand, was a teamwork conception between the Vermont-based band Phish and the Vermont-based ice cream maker. These two music-inspired flavours have held strong as favourites with the brand, and they spread Ben & Jerry's message of peace, love, and ice cream by reminding ice cream-lovers of the bands they loved (and still love!) years ago and the ice cream they ate when they were young . . . or young at heart!

This most popular of the fan-suggested flavours, named after the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, is a cherry ice cream that actually started as a vanilla base years ago. Now it's cherry with cherries and chocolate flakes inside. Even better, a Chocolate Cherry Garcia option is now available, though the cherry base is the original . . . and probably the best.

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Phish Food is a chocolate ice cream base with marshmallow swirls, caramel swirls, and fudge fish throughout. Fun fact, though: the marshmallow swirl in Phish Food isn't actually marshmallow at all; it's nougat. And like every Ben & Jerry's flavour, you get a bit of the ooey-gooey goodness in every bite.

"People tend to latch onto their favourite flavours from childhood and stay attached for life!" Sarah said of Ben & Jerry's fans continually returning to Cherry Garcia and Phish Food, in particular. And she said Ben & Jerry's makes sure to keep the nostalgia factor in mind with all the flavour planning that goes into producing new products. It's no wonder these two flavours, in particular, keep topping Ben & Jerry's popularity list year after year. We think topping these nostalgic ice creams with a hearty helping of Oreo O's might be the perfect way to eat like a kid again.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Hedy Phillips
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