It’s kind of weird that there’s a popular ice cream bar that seemed to take the world by storm out of nowhere a few years back, and that it shares the same brand name as a popular brand of condoms, but maybe that’s just me. At any rate, Aldi has carried the name brand before, and now offer up their own take on the mass-produced gourmet treat in the form of these vanilla/caramel/chocolate bars, which can be had for $2.99 per 3-count box.
First impressions: why the hell are there only three bars per package? I thought the first rule of any product was to have an equal number of items in a box, so that couples could share; I guess the new rule is to have an odd number, which would force people to buy 2 in order to get a shareable, even number. We’re on to you, Psychological Marketing Guy.It’s kind of weird that there’s a popular ice cream bar that seemed to take the world by storm out of nowhere a few years back, and that it shares the same brand name as a popular brand of condoms, but maybe that’s just me. At any rate, Aldi has carried the name brand before, and now offer up their own take on the mass-produced gourmet treat in the form of these vanilla/caramel/chocolate bars, which can be had for $2.99 per 3-count box.
Another first impression: why aren’t these released under the Specially Selected label? The packaging looks premium, and Sundae Shoppe is usually the moniker Aldi uses to release the more “affordable” and basic ice cream products under.
These are relatively small, and even though we’re looking at an Aldi private label, the price still comes in at a dollar per bar. That’s not wallet-destroying expensive, but it’s definitely not typical Aldi cheap. However, aside from the smallness, they look absolutely delicious, with caramel candy bits protruding from a rich-looking chocolate shell.
My mouth is watering by now, so I dive right in, and…
…okay, these are not at all what I was expecting. But I mean that in a good way. I’m actually pretty sure Aldi sold another knockoff product of this brand a couple years ago. I think it was around the time the condom brand of ice cream was becoming popular. I had never tried their products (still haven’t), but was eager to see what all the fuss was about. And while it’s probably unfair to judge a national brand by a private label counterpart, I remember that I was definitely left scratching my head, still wondering what all the fuss was about.
I shared that random memory simply as an anecdote for how brands can change through time, because these bars are fantastic. The chocolate coating on the ice cream is thick and very crunchy…I’m convinced it’s one of the better exterior layers I’ve ever had on any ice cream bar. It virtually begs you to dive back in, if for no other reason than to re-experience that crunch all over again. It might sound like hyperbole – and to a certain extent, I suppose it is – but I really do love that texture. It’s definitely not soft, but also not too hard, requiring just the perfect amount of pressure from your teeth to let it loose with a satisfying “crack” that’s almost as crucial a part of the experience as the actual taste is.
The ice cream in the middle, according to the package, is a mix between vanilla and caramel. Adding to the caramel flavor are also bits of hardened caramel, which poke through the chocolate coating and provide even more opportunities for crunch. The ice cream has good flavor, with a rather light but noticeable caramel flavor – but isn’t anything outstanding on its own; where it really stands out is in the texture, offering up a nice, soft counterbalance to the hard exterior shell.
I plowed through a box with my wife, and then turned around and bought another one about a week later, when the stock was dwindling down…and that’s something I rarely do within the same Special Buy cycle. That should really tell you all you need to know.
Overall: 9/10. I was initially hesitant given the price tag ($1 per small bar? How much is the dang national brand?!), but my fears were quickly allayed after trying one: this is a delicious bar, with a satisfying crunch to kick things off, and a delicious chocolatey taste to match. The ice cream is a mix of caramel and vanilla, which wisely softens the caramel taste on the palate, allowing the crunchy caramel candy bits to really punch through, without being overpowering. A great bar, at a pretty solid price point. I just wish there weren’t an odd number of bars per box. Hell, give us two bigger bars, for goodness sake!