Jeni’s Ice Cream Explores What Color Tastes Like

Jeni’s Ice Cream COLORS Collection

Ohio isn’t a place most people brag about living. Honestly, I think Columbus is a great city for foodies (and many people seem to be enamored with that one sports-ball team). But if we have one thing to be smug about, it’s that we’ve been stuffing our faces with Jeni’s Ice Cream for over a decade before Chicago and Los Angeles got their own scoop shops.

Jeni's Ice Cream COLORS Collection
Jeni's Ice Cream | Thought & Sight

I didn’t think I was an ice cream person until I tasted Jeni’s creations. I didn’t dislike it, ice cream just wasn’t something I craved over other desserts. But ice cream in the hands of Jeni Britton Bauer was a epiphany.

It was her fruit flavors that really made me a convert. After growing up on artificially colored and flavored cartons of mass market ice cream, a flavor like strawberry was just something sweet and pink, with no connection to the actual fruit. Who knew that strawberry ice cream could taste like real strawberries?

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The same goes for all her flavors, like the ambrosia that is Bananas and Honey, a seasonal flavor I anxiously await each year. Jeni’s commitment to high quality natural, local, & seasonal ingredients is something that shines through in the product, whether or not you read the sales pitch first.

Jeni's Ice Cream | Thought & Sight
Jeni's Ice Cream | Thought & Sight

At least in the US, I think many of us grew up eating sweets that are named after fruits, but are identified as such only by their color– the flavors themselves aren’t even close.

In a way Jeni’s COLORS Collection circles back to color defining flavor, just with way better ingredients. Jeni was inspired by the vivid hues of Matisse’s Cut Outs to translate six colors into ice cream flavors: Persian Orange, Garance Vert Clair, Noir d’Ivoire, Cadmium Yellow, Ombre Brûlée, and Ultramarine Blue.

When I walked through the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibit late last year at MoMA, I couldn’t believe how intense the colors were. I had always loved the Cut-Outs, but to see them in person? It was a revelation. I’d look at the colors, close my eyes, and actually begin to taste and smell them.

Jeni's Ice Cream | Thought & Sight

Naturally, I tried all six flavors in the collection (the staff is always happy to give you samples, and don’t blink an eye when I walk in and ask to taste all the new flavors). They were all great, though I wished afterwards I could have done a blind taste test since you’re primed by the descriptions and colors. It would be fun to guess which taste aligned with each Mattisse color!

Jeni's Ice Cream | Thought & Sight

The fruit flavors are bright and summery, with a nice tang from yogurt. The juicy, tangy Persian Orange was a favorite, as was the satisfyingly green hued Garance Vert Clair, which balances its pleasantly grassy flavor with a deep creaminess. And only sampled, but on the list for a full scoop next time is the Ombre Brûlée, best described as a smoky cookie dough flavor. Seriously great ice cream, and I love the creative concept behind it!

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If you’re lucky enough to live near a Jeni’s scoop shop, go check them out! If not, you can order online and have pints shipped to your door. Or pick up the Jeni’s cookbook and try your hand at the recipes at home.

(this is not a sponsored post, I just really love Jeni’s. spoon photo via Jenis, all others my own)

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Really loving this concept to much. Would love to stop by Jeni’s Ice Cream – the interior is just to die for as well. Too bad I can’t eat dairy, but maybe they have vegan options too?

    Rae | love from berlin

    • They do always stock one or two sorbets actually! I don’t opt for them as often, but the sorbets have that same wonderful true-to-the-fruit flavor :)

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