Grapes in ice cream = ice chunks in ice cream
Sean Greenwood, Ben & Jerry's PR lead, agreed to speak with me and set the record straight.
"Yeah, those stories sound like a stretch, a little bit of ice cream lore," he said after I detailed the tale of Ben, his misguided attempt at capturing love through ice cream, and the dead dog.
First off, using grapes as an ice cream base presents logistical problems. "Making ice cream at home, you can get fruit like grapes pretty close to a puree, but when you are using fruit as a base on a large scale, that's when you run into problems."
Fruits -- grapes specifically -- have high water content. When using such a watery base to make ice cream, the results often come peppered with chunks of ice. Which equates to some pretty shitty ice cream.
"Jerry and Ben will talk about the days of making melon ice cream, or cantaloupe ice cream, and how good that was. But then, they were doing it on a 2-gallon batch. To try to do that on a massive scale is much more challenging."
For something like popsicles -- which are predictably icy and often artificially flavored -- this is fine. But for a company like Ben & Jerry's, it presents a nearly insurmountable engineering hurdle.