My birthday is on Valentine’s Day, which, as a male, is a curse. My wife’s birthday follows one month later, on the next “major” holiday: St. Patrick’s Day. You know, “luck of the irish” and shamrocks, and all that? (I know my birthday holiday is just a bullshit Hallmark cash grab, but I can’t honestly even remember what the point of March 17th is…another reason to get drunk and party? A beer company accidentally made a huge supply of green beer and had to come up with a way to get rid of it? I’m sure it’s something retarded like that.)
Anyway, whereas Valentine’s Day seems to have a pretty huge following (at least as far as pointless holidays are concerned), St. Patty’s Day seems to be little more than an afterthought. Sure, you can find green-themed party supplies and green beer and some plastic shamrock necklaces in a wide variety of places, but it just doesn’t have the same appeal; in fact, I can’t really think of too many food products that are manufactured specifically for such an uninteresting holiday.
Enter Sundae Shoppe’s Shamrockin’ Swirl ice cream, which is available only in pint form, and as a Special Buy, in Aldi stores nationwide. I’ll admit there’s something about the packaging that’s just…pedestrian, especially for something that they want $1.99 for. It does manage to convey that it’s for St. Patty’s Day thanks to its use of green and the “Shamrockin’” distinction in the title, but it’s not something that screams “get me!” when sitting inside the freezer. In fact, the only reason I paid it any attention whatsoever was in honor of my wife’s birthday. I mean, it wasn’t really a birthday gift to her – I wasn’t going to deny myself the deliciousness of seasonal ice cream – but I saw the shamrocks and the green, and I threw both varieties in my cart without even fully reading the ingredients. I mean, there’s really no possible way to go wrong with ice cream.
It wasn’t until we sat down to eat it one cold February evening (well, technically “early morning”) that we both read the ingredients, and our collective interest was piqued: Shamrockin’ Swirl consists of green mint-flavored ice cream with yellow fudge chips and a “choco-cookie crumb swirl.” Okay, sign me up for that one! Mint and chocolate are one of my all-time favorite dessert combinations; it’s one that’s virtually impossible to mess up. My wife, who’s not as much of a fan, still loves the green mint ice cream of yesteryear (something that seems to be dying thanks to the removal of artificial dyes and coloring agents), and was almost just as excited to give it a shot.
First impressions: A chocolate swirl immediately grabbed our attention as we opened the pint, giving us hope that the rest would follow suit. All too often these days, the treats inside ice cream seem to be buried, or barely existent altogether, so it was nice to be blasted with some right off the bat. The rest was a smooth sea of light green that immediately made my mouth water.
Without hesitation, we both dug in…
Hoooly shit. The first observation is that this ice cream is very soft right out of the freezer, something I did not expect given its relatively cheap appearance. The next immediate thing is that the mint flavor is perfect; it’s nice and light, without being too much in either direction. Even some non-fans of mint might be able to tolerate this one.
Front there, it only gets better: the cookie pieces are more semi-sweet than I was expecting, which actually helps to offset the mint even further. They have excellent chocolate flavor, which had both of us scrambling to find pockets of the cookie ribbon to heighten our experience. Thankfully, they weren’t hard to find at all: This ice cream has generous amounts of cookie spread throughout. Even though we shared the pint, we didn’t even have to ration any of the ingredients out; there was so much of it that we both got our fill.
The most pointless aspect are the yellow fudge chips, which really don’t have much of a bearing on the overall flavor. Well, none that I could really find. They provide little more than a soft, white-chocolate style texture, and maybe some added color, but nothing notable in the taste department. I think that’s more of a testament to the ice cream and cookie pieces, though, as they rightfully steal the show.
The $1.99 price tag is higher than I like to spend, simply because they offer the larger “half-gallon” cartons for just a few cents more. However, in this case it’s more than worth it. This is an excellent ice cream that should have mass appeal to fans of the frozen treat, regardless of their penchant for mint-flavored foodstuffs. If there are any more of these in your local Aldi’s freezer, stock up on them. This is one that should be re-packaged in non-specific packaging and offered all year ’round. It’s that good.
Overall: 10/10. What more can be said? This one took my meager expectations and totally destroyed them, offering up an experience that is way more premium than I was expecting. The ice cream is noticeably soft right out of the freezer, which basically begs you to dig in. The mint isn’t overpowering at all to begin with, but it’s dialed down even further by chocolate cookie pieces that are both generous in quantity and semi-sweet in taste. It’s one of those combinations that most normal people won’t be able to get enough of. The yellow fudge chips really add nothing to the equation besides maybe some extra coloring, but they’re not even necessary: this is a standout ice cream that won’t make you regret a single penny of the $1.99 retail price. If you see this in-store, stock up, although I have a feeling they won’t be lasting long; personally, I regret not buying a half-dozen more.