Carson Bonner, Campus Carrier deputy news editor
Berry College students all know Cookout, a place for late night chicken nugget runs, alarmingly cheap combos and most famously of all, 40 milkshake flavors. Such a variety of milkshakes can be overwhelming, even a deterrent of branching out and trying new ones. After two lactose-filled months of trying every flavor, the best and worst milkshakes have made themselves known. While the worst flavor, pineapple, stood out fairly quickly, it was fairly difficult to conclude that the best flavor was caramel fudge, based entirely on the sheer number of options.
A daunting task at first, the sampling of 40 milkshakes became habitual as I got further down the list. Unfortunately pineapple was one of the first sampled. Initially, the idea of a pineapple milkshake does not sound very threatening, until one considers the combination of an acidic fruit with milk. The result, an unpleasantly chunky atrocity, immediately won the spot of the worst flavor.
Going into my tasting task, I expected to experience several somewhat unpleasant flavors. After all, among 40 milkshakes, one can not expect perfection. A close second to the worst flavor of pineapple was not a flavor, but a category. Cheesecake, while a fun dessert in cake form, was not something I would choose to consume in milkshake form. When I tried it initally, the extra thickness was appealing, but after the first spoonful, I became hyper aware of the cheesecake chunks that were suspended throughout the ice cream. The cheesecake flavor variety – cherry, blueberry, strawberry, chocolate chip and caramel – were all somewhat unpleasant but the most tolerable by far was caramel. It had fewer lumps and the caramel taste was not overwhelmingly sweet.
For me, the issue with the lower ranked flavors was not taste but texture. With both the pineapple and all of the flavors within the cheesecake category, if the texture had been more smooth and had fewer chewy lumps, then the flavor in and of itself would not have been bad. But the introduction of pineapple to milk, as well as cheesecake morsels to ice cream did not serve to improve the milkshake experience.
Thankfully, that negative experience was entirely overshadowed by the glorious, life-changing nature of the caramel fudge milkshake. I thought that maybe – just maybe – the peanut butter fudge milkshake would be the best. But compared to the caramel fudge, the peanut butter fudge is entirely insignificant. As an avid caramel (pronounced car-mel) lover, I am always excited about a caramel flavored dessert experience. I, for some reason, waited until I was down to seven flavors left when I tried this milkshake and as soon as the caramelly goodness was in my mouth, I wished I had been exposed to such wonders sooner.
Caramel fudge is the best for this reason: it perfectly balances the thick chocolate ice cream with the ribbons of caramel and while it may be overwhelming to the senses for some, for me, it was a blissful glimpse of perfection. Upon opening the lid of the milkshake, there was a very aesthetically pleasing spiral of caramel swirled into the chocolate base, adding onto the otherworldly milkshake experience. Overall, this was truly the best milkshake I could ever try.
What really matters to someone who wants to try more than one milkshake is rankings, not just the best flavors. The three worst flavors are strawberry cheesecake, blueberry cheesecake, and of course pineapple. The three best were vanilla, a true classic, peanut butter fudge, and the most quintessentially perfect milkshake of all was caramel fudge. 32,000 calories later, it has been definitively decided by the most qualified tester that the best milkshake of them all is caramel fudge, making up for the horrible experience that is the pineapple.