Yes, dear readers, there was a time when Pepperidge Farm did not exist.
It was during this time that children acted like princes and ruthless animal crackers trampled the land, stampeding under sofa cushions. It was a time of lawlessness, indeed. Some say residents were forced to flee from their homes, holding tight to their boxes of graham crackers, crumbs flinging willy-nilly as they fled from snack thieves.
The consumers that remained scoured Aisle 9, looking for the one snack that could satisfy an empty pocket of the soul. A pocket that could only be filled by a fish-shaped cracker. And thus, the Goldfish was born.
Since then, the snack battles have subsided as the Goldfish has brought joy in the form of an unassuming, aquatic-inspired treat, and it is in the spirit of this great joy that I grabbed this new Cookies & Cream Graham incarnation of the “snack that smiles back.”
Undoubtedly, Goldfish hold a steady place in the world of American snack history, yet with great familiarity comes great responsibility. Coming from one who has experienced the full line of Goldfish, how do these Cookies and Cream grahams stack up to their ancestors?
Let’s rip open this bag and find out:
These are of the standard goldfish-cracker size and it looks like they put both chocolate and vanilla cookies in the mix, both of which are fairly equally distributed through the bag.
And no doubt these fishies are jolly little crackers. I mean, just look at that smile.
What a happy-dappy little freshwater fish. Happiness is contagious and these little buggers spread it. Happiness alone earns these a full point before I even taste.
And now, to dig in to the goods.
(Complete, unrestrained Goldfish consumption ensues.)
In terms of texture, these grahams offer a unique riff off their cheddar cracker cousins. Unlike the crisp features inherent in a Goldfish cracker, the Goldfish graham is an undertaking that highlights the crunchy benefits of density, with the chocolate being slightly more compact than its vanilla counterpart. The chocolate is also the stronger of the two flavors, strutting in with a solid merit of dark chocolate, while the vanilla adds a subtle contrast. If this were an orchestra, the chocolate bangs the bass drum while the vanilla comes in like a violin, softening the chocolate with a hint of shortbread.
Now, it must be noted that one very important element is missing here in the Cookies & Cream Goldfish: cream. Where would this cream be on such a small cookie? I do not know. Perhaps in the center of the graham? Perhaps in the form of a mini cream-filled sandwich? I can’t say for sure, but it seems to have gone astray in the process of research and development and I mourn its absence.
Of course, I could say the vanilla is meant to highlight a “cream,” quality as it adds a lighter, daintier flavor, yet it does not provide the texture contrast that I had so hoped for. Perhaps these are not so much suited “Cookies and Cream” as they are “Chocolate and Vanilla.” Nothing bad about that. Simply different than one might have anticipated.
A peculiar sugar sprinkle seems to reside on the outside of each maritime morsel. After three tastings, I have yet to discover this coating’s function in the realm of taste, although it does add a certain sparkle, which leads me to believe it was intended to help support Goldfish expression. I imagine that, being an inanimate cracker, Goldfish have a difficult time finding opportunities to express themselves. I am pleased to find Pepperidge Farm is taking this into account by equipping Goldfish with a fashion-forward glimmer on their outer graham.
I’m also relieved to find that this thin canopy of glammed-up sparkly coating won’t send me bouncity-bouncing down the highway in a crazed sugar rush. These have only 9 grams of sugar and oodles of whole grain per serving. Oh, did I mention there are 35 graham fishies in one serving? That’s a solid handful (two handfuls for the humans with small hands).
Even without the cream, these are good little grahams. They celebrate diversity within the Goldfish culture and are easily munchable, although, if eaten in rapid abundance, the chocolate can be a bit aggressive on the taste buds (and this is coming from a chocolate fiend).
If you’re brave (and I know you are…), you might consider mixing these with cheddar and pretzel goldfish. It will be a bit of sweet-and-salty fish-shaped magic that goes well with ice cream and provides hours of creative nourishment.
These Goldfish hearken back to a simpler time. A time in which one could sit at a table and color for hours while wearing a wonky crown built of paper maché and drinking from a juice box with a bendy straw, and, like the memory of a fond love affair, these hints of the past always highlight the good. The happy times. The thing that, despite all the goofs and flaws and fumbles, brings you back and begging for more. Will these Cookies and Cream Goldfish, with their vanilla-chocolate-happy crunch, send me back for another bag? I’m not sure, but I do believe they’re good enough to try, offering a simple, modest snack for the quiet child in all of us.
(Warning: opening Goldfish bag may inspire spontaneous desire to craft.)
(Nutrition Facts – 35 pieces – 140 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, Less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein)
Item: Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Grahams Cookies & Cream
Purchased Price: $1.89 (on sale)
Size: 6.6 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Variety. Crunch. Vanilla like a violin. Fashion-forward. Spontaneous whims to craft. Whole grain. Pairing with ice cream. Equal distribution of vanilla and chocolate. Coloring books. Drinking juice with a bendy straw.
Cons: Absence of cream. Tyrannical chocolate Goldfish. Sugary coating without a taste. Life before Pepperidge Farm. Being trampled by an animal cracker.