The Puzzling Comeback Of Ben & Jerry's Cannoli Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's was founded by two friends in a renovated gas station in 1978, according to the Ben & Jerry's website. Ben Cohen, the ice cream brand's co-founder and half of the namesake, has a condition called anosmia, which limits his ability to taste and smell (via Delish). He relies on a food's texture in order to fully enjoy it, so when creating new flavors, Cohen set out to create ice cream that he could fully enjoy, leading Ben & Jerry's small flavor team through the creation of blended-in toppings.

Ben & Jerry's may be best known for the eccentric ice cream flavors with big chunks that the brand produces, but not every flavor has been a winner. For failed flavors, the Ben & Jerry's website features a "Flavor Graveyard," where it showcases ice cream flavors that the brand no longer sells — whether they were intended to be limited releases, or just didn't sell as well as the company hoped they would (via Ben & Jerry's). One of the flavors in the graveyard is Holy Cannoli.

The flavor initially failed

The first Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor inspired by the popular Italian dessert was released in 1997, according to the company's website. Holy Cannoli blended creamy ricotta and pistachio-flavored ice creams with roasted pistachios and chocolate-covered cannoli pieces. The flavor was reportedly such a hard sell that it was pulled from store shelves and sent to the Flavor Graveyard only a year after its initial release. Since it was such an underselling flavor, it was an unusual move to introduce another variation of cannoli-flavored ice cream.

In 2012, Ben & Jerry's released a limited batch of Cannoli, though the ice cream company opted to redo the flavors this time around. They swapped in mascarpone ice cream, and added fudge-covered pastry shell pieces before swirling in some added mascarpone (via Ben & Jerry's). This second release was so successful that Ben & Jerry's added it to the flavor lineup permanently in 2020, and it can now be purchased anywhere that Ben & Jerry's is sold.