EphemeraReviews

Adventures in Processed Food Products: Wonky Wonka Ice Cream

By on April 12, 2013 11:30am EST

I begin with a confession.

Despite the CSA subscription, despite the railing against the pervasiveness of fast food throughout the American diet, despite the striving to continually limit the food choices I make for my family and myself to only foods I feel like won’t ultimately make us sick, despite dozens of behaviors I’ve adapted to try to make my relationship with food as healthy and respectful as humanly possible…despite all of it, I have a major weakness for stunt food products.

“Stunt food products” being the amazing parade of consumer packaged goods offered in odd-ball iterations.

So, while I pretty much never have want or need for, say, Doritos, if they manage to get into the market something like “Hot Dog Water-Flavored Doritos!!!” (because, in my head, there are always exclamation points), I find it nearly impossible to not want to try them. It’s as if I see it as a way to turn three dollars into a fascinating sampling of whatever fresh hell was born in a meeting room orgy between evil marketing people and evil food chemists.

Three bucks!

So, let’s frame it as a public service that I, through the magic of Food Riot, will offer to the public. I will eat this shite so you don’t have to. Otherwise, I have to live with my shame, thinking I’m not doing a patriotic duty for America.

Today, I bestow onto you Wonka Chocolate Chipper Chip.

I saw this not-quite-a-pint in the Grocery Outlet, which is a great place to find weird food items, as they seem to end up with all the stuff that didn’t sell well enough in typical groceries to maintain a shelf presence. Also, curiously, they have reasonably priced packages of organic vegetables certified by the Oregon Tilth, which makes me glad to have them. Hence, if I’m near a Grocery Outlet and have a minute, I tend to stop and shop.

Anyhow, let’s not let the corporate food industry slide on the continued downsizing of their packaging to increase profits. People see ice cream in this package and assume it’s a pint, unlikely to bother to look and see you’ve shaved two ounces. You know this and are taking advantage. Shame on you.

Then again, you largely deal in selling chemicals masked as food. I guess shame left the farm a while ago, eh?

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Not an error, apparently. They intentionally print the label upside down.

Essentially, this is intended to combine a relatively new (to me) phenomenon of chocolate-covered potato chips with vanilla ice cream.

A coworker recently introduced me to chocolate covered potato chips, which, in theory, should have been really good because I dig the combination of salty and sweet. The execution of the idea ended up making it a sloppy mess of textures. Instead of a really thick chip, maybe even with ruffles, drizzled with chocolate or with one end dipped in chocolate, ideally laid out individually, what you have is a bag full of chocolate mixed with somewhat greasy, thin chips. Didn’t live up to the ideal, by any stretch.

Stirring that idea into some vanilla ice cream helps to lower some of the aspirations of execution and allows for just combining flavors, right?

What I’d have hoped for would be a similar experience found in Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. Granted, potato chips are not quite peanut butter-filled pretzels, but that’s what I was hoping to get from this.

Surprisingly, the potato chip piece of the equation here is woefully subdued to the point where you wonder whether someone somewhere along the line said, “We have to keep the potato chip budget tight!” Seeing as the potato chip should technically be the star of the show, what you get is a pretty uninspiring potato chip delivered in a pretty uninspiring quantity. I’m not sure what they are meaning to imply by “chocolaty potato chip bark and swirl,” but it’s definitely not “a salty and crunchy counterpoint to the sweet, creaminess of the ice cream.”

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But you DID play favorites, “Willy!” Your stated love for the potato chip is but an illusion!

Perhaps the reasoning behind this is that it’s likely difficult to maintain the texture once it’s either coated in chocolate or stirred into the cream. Either way, the salty and the crunch is hardly present.

Also…”Good Food, Good Life?”

Which leaves the chocolate and the ice cream, which are two items big ice cream producers know how to deliver in the least expensive way possible with little actual flavor.

The chocolate is grainy, grainy, grainy, with a slight hint of waxy. I don’t know what combination of cheap replacement ingredients and technique yields the gritty sludge swirled throughout this product, but I doubt Nestle would dare serve it to any actual Swiss citizens who are not only known for their chocolate, but also for being heavily armed.

That's a whole lotta crap in there!

That’s a whole lotta crap in there!

Then you have that weird ice cream that is more icy than creamy. That’s just pleasing to nobody, or at least I hope people don’t actually prefer that style of ice cream-like frozen dairy dessert thing.

I realize some segment of the ingredient list has to be assigned to the chocolate and the potato chips. Yet, when you extract those, I somehow doubt you are left with the only five ingredients you need to make a proper vanilla ice cream: cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla extract.

I know those are the only five you need because that’s what’s in Häagen-Dazs’ vanilla ice cream, and that is a properly creamy bucket of sin. Plus, their pint is actually the full 16 ounces.

Hence, I’m left to recommend you skip the bucket of failure and instead find a good, quality vanilla ice cream, some thick, kettle-cooked potato chips, and a luscious chocolate sauce and construct a sundae all on your own, should your interest in combining potato chips, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream remain piqued.

You might could also reach out to your local ice cream shop with all the fun and funky flavors (see Full Tilt if you are a fellow Seattle-ite) and ask whether they make something similar. If not, suggest it to them and swear you’ll be first on line for a cone when it debuts.

Because, ultimately, the best thing I can say about this encounter is that it was cheap and over quickly.

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Randall Hauk

Randall G. Hauk spends his days making recipes safe for public consumption and his evenings making his two boys safe for public consumption.

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