Mar 21, 2023 - Food and Drink

Ranch-flavored ice cream sours dessert

Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

I'm a sucker for a gimmick, so when an agency offered to send samples of Van Leeuwen's limited-run spring flavors β€” including Hidden Valley Ranch β€” I was too tempted to say no.

Taste test: I tested the ranch flavor with my wife and son. It's dead-on for America's favorite salad dressing, with aromas of buttermilk, onion and garlic.

  • Beware:Β The notes linger in the back of the throat for a couple hours.
  • The agency claims it pairs well with pretzels and potato chips. I'll never know.

πŸ‘Ž Review: We all found it revolting, but maybe some ranch-heads out there will love it.

πŸ’­ My thought bubble: There are three good use cases for this flavor:

  1. For a rousing game of truth or dare.
  2. To give a subtle hint to your kissing partner that they have bad breath.
  3. As an aversion therapy tool for those wishing to give up ice cream.
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Worth's first β€” and only β€” taste. Video: Ronie Sparkman

The big picture: Van Leeuwen is a premium brand of creamy, decadent, French-style ice cream. The company tries to reinvent itself frequently with new and intriguing flavors, like Earl Grey Tea or Malted Milkshake and Fries.

Reality check: The ranch flavor is a gimmick to get reporters to write about the brand, and in that effort, they succeeded.

  • The other six options sent along were more conventional β€” Limoncello Cake, Sweet Maple Cornbread, Honey Graham Cracker, Strawberry Shortcake, Carrot Cake and Blood Orange Chocolate Chip.
  • Any one of them will make a delicious treat. My family and I favored the orange and strawberry.

The bottom line: If you want to try a new Van Leeuwen flavor, pints are available for $5 but only at Walmart stores through March 28.

Disclosure: Reporter Worth Sparkman is a Walmart shareholder.

Go deeper: Best ice creams in Northwest Arkansas


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