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Ben & Jerry's Factory in Waterbury, Vermont serves up The Vermonster Ice Cream Sundae

July is national ice cream month! Every area of the country has its own legendary ice cream parlor or two, welcoming refuges that provide a cooling escape from the heat of a summer's day along with some serious culinary pleasure. Waterbury, Vermont is home to one of America's most famous ice cream established by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield: Ben and Jerry's. Ben & Jerry's knows how to take care of customers who find divinity in their bovinity.

In 1977 lifelong ex-hippie friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield completed a correspondence course on ice cream making from the Pennsylvania State University. On May 5, 1978, with a $12,000 investment the pair opened an ice cream parlor in a renovated gas station in downtown Burlington, Vermont. Mad geniuses of frozen dairy, Ben & Jerry's turned the industry on its head by creating the most outrageous, most outlandish and most outstanding flavor bursting combinations imaginable.

Famous for their wild ice cream flavors, including strawberry kiwi and cinnamon buns, the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory conducts factory tours for over 500,000 visitors each year. The best part of the tour may be at the end: each visitor gets a scoop of Ben and Jerry's world-famous ice cream. Ben & Jerry's is the mecca of ice cream where magic happens. It's a pig out palace and every week they put out almost 1,000,000 pints. You can visit the factory and get a behind the scenes look with unlimited samples in over 30 flavors. Yes, UNLIMITED!

Ben & Jerry's The Vermonster Ice Cream Sundae
Ben & Jerry's The Vermonster Ice Cream Sundae Bowl
The factory of the Ben & Jerry's empire is hardly undiscovered, but it makes for a great afternoon, especially with ice cream-bedazzled children. This is ground zero of all things ice cream, with real cows and cow imagery heralding the Cow Over the Moon theater and the Flavoroom. The Flavor Graveyard, with such offerings as Rainforest Crunch, is particularly interesting: it might be time to bring back Economic Crunch.

The founders were able to combine ice cream making with social activism by creating a three-part Mission Statement that considered profits as only one measure of success. By trisecting their measure of success into a Product Mission, an Economic Mission and a Social Mission, they were able to set themselves apart from similarly sized food companies, and generate national attention on their efforts.

If the names Ben and Jerry make your mouth water, you're probably acquainted with their world-famous ice cream. Made from all-natural ingredients (the cows are Vermont cows and all hormone free), their delectable, frozen desserts are available in a mind-numbing variety of flavors. Ask the initiated and they'll swear that it's next-to-impossible to stop at just one or two spoonfuls. In fact, finishing off a half or even a whole pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream in a single sitting is as commonplace as cows at a dairy farm.

The Vermonster Sundae

For those who take their passion for ice cream to staggering extremes, participating Ben and Jerry's scoop shops have an ice cream container more their size. Served in a plastic bucket, The Vermonster Sundae is the ultimate sundae big enough to give even Godzilla an ice cream headache. It takes 20 scoops of ice cream, four bananas, one fudge brownie, three chocolate chip cookies, four ladles of hot fudge, 10 scoops of walnuts, 18 scoops of toppings and loads of whipped cream to create this sinful concoction. The Vermonster weighs a whopping 8 pounds, has 14,000 calories and 500 g of fat. It costs $30 to $35 dollars and is served in over 450 franchise shops worldwide.

If your sweet tooth is as long as a stegosaurus spike, you might be able to finish the Vermonster on your own, but it just may ruin your supper for days to come.

Ben & Jerry's has been featured numerous times on The Travel Channel (Ice Cream Paradise, 4.2.08; Extreme Pig Outs, 4.8.09; rated #6 on Travel Channel's Top 10 Places to Pig Out - World's Best Places to Pig Out: Food Heaven, 8.28.05) as well as rated one of America's Best Ice Cream Shops by Travel + Leisure (June 2009).

Posted by Amanda, in General.

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