Ben & Jerry's said it is hitting the road this summer with a series of events showcasing the surprisingly delicious world of plant-based dining. The Burlington, Vt.-based ice cream company, better known for its euphoric chunks and swirls and pun-filled flavor names, will team up with award-winning chefs in Atlanta (Aug. 29), Denver (Sept. 4) and San Diego (Sept. 13) to unveil an over-the-top, one-night-only-dessert created for each city. The tour kicked off in Ben & Jerry's hometown of Burlington, Vt., earlier this summer.
Ticket-holders for "Dessert'd" will enjoy plant-based small bites, “outrageous” hors d'oeuvres and custom cocktails, the company said. The "non-expected" culinary experience will include an all-you-can-eat array of Ben & Jerry's 10 nondairy flavors. Live and local entertainment will add to the atmosphere of the immersive experience.
The chefs in each market were carefully chosen for their creativity and passion for delicious dishes, Ben & Jerry’s noted. None of them is known primarily as a vegan chef, yet all will be responsible for curating the evening's menu. The chefs include:
- George Lambertson, Burlington, Vt. A firebrand best known for the elevated street food and creative culinary choices offered at his high-energy ArtsRiot location.
- Deborah VanTrece, Atlanta. Chef/owner of Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours, serving up traditional African American soul food with global inspiration.
- Alon Shaya, Denver. James Beard Award winner with a passion for modern Israeli comfort food, multi-dish dining, and breaking down borders.
- Melissa d'Arabian, San Diego. Celebrity chef and television host, best-selling author and mom of four. Melissa is an expert on elegant, affordable home cooking.
"We put a lot of effort into developing a nondairy dessert that was just as indulgent as our ice cream," said Eric Fredette , Ben & Jerry's flavor guru. "We know vegan versions of our favorite foods had a rough start, but that's in the past. Chefs and home cooks are now able to create beautiful, tantalizing vegan dishes using fresh, locally grown and curated products. These culinary events will prove it."
Tickets for the evening experience are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event, available at benjerry.com/flavors/dessertd. Proceeds from the tickets will go to a nonprofit of the chef's choice. Ben & Jerry's hinted that if one of the exclusive dessert creations proves exceptionally popular and delicious, the Flavor Gurus will consider adding a version to the company's national Scoop Shop menu in the future.