Here’s your off-the-wall thought for today: if someone was making you a romantic mix CD (for our younger readers, ask your parents what those are), what song would absolutely have to be on it?
It’s not a trick question, and I don’t mean a cheerful, airy ballad. What tune gives you that weak-in-the-knees, smoldering feeling?
For me, I have to go with “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles. It’s an unconventional choice — she’s not a particularly famous artist, and hell, the song isn’t even really about romance… it’s about missing Elvis. But damn, there’s just something about the twang of that guitar, the slow beat, and the way Myles kicks about fifty extra levels of sultry into her voice as she croons “what could you dooooo?” You can keep your Wicked Games and your Closers, thanks; I’ll take the homage to a dead Southern rocker.
And this is the point where you quite reasonably ask, “What on earth does any of this have to do with food?”
My only response is that we’re reviewing Red Velvet Pop-Tarts today, and I can no longer hear the word “velvet” without thinking of that song. (Makes coat shopping uncomfortable, let me tell you.) Also, nearly every single flavor of Pop-Tart has already been reviewed on this site and we’re kind of running out of intros; the next one will consist entirely of the phrase “All blog and no play makes our editor-in-chief something something” just typed over and over again.
But putting that aside, Red Velvet is the latest in Kellogg’s Pokemon-esque quest to capture every flavor known to man in tart form, then make them battle for supremacy. The front of the box has the standard picture of the Pop-Tart itself, but also one of a red velvet cupcake, the kind you might find in an upscale bakery or a pretentious grocery store. It’s pretty effective at making your mouth water, since both images look downright tasty and will probably sell more than a few units on visual impulse purchases alone. (Don’t laugh, that’s Maxim’s entire marketing strategy.) The package also emphasizes that these are limited edition, so depending on how they taste, it might be time to clear out your pantry and start stockpiling.
The Pop-Tarts come inside the standard foil wrappers with random sayings/”jokes” on them. Nothing particularly interesting there, although in keeping with the romance theme, I noticed one of the word balloons telling me I’m so easy to open up to, and another one just says “Oooooh. Ahhhhh. Yummm!” Keep it in your pants, Kellogg’s. Pressing ahead, opening a packet reveals fairly aesthetically appealing Pop-Tarts. Nothing spectacular, but the red sprinkles make it pop and it’s slightly neat seeing a rust-colored tart. Breaking one open reveals the white creme filling you’ve encountered before in so many of its pastry predecessors.
Which is all well and good, but at the end of the day, are you taking a first class flight to Flavortown? Well… somewhat. The creme filling and the frosting on top are the exact same as what you’ve had on plenty of other Pop-Tarts before; you already know whether you like it or not. In addition to visual appeal, the sprinkles actually do provide a little bit of added crunch, which is nice from a texture standpoint — nothing major, just the sort of minor element that can sometimes tip the scales in one direction or the other. Assuming you toast yours, the filling melts nicely and forms a nice soft contrast with the flaky shell.
But that leads me to my biggest disappointment: while these tarts are appropriately sweet and gooey, they just don’t deliver enough red velvet taste. I’m not a glutton for red velvet or anything (again: go black or go home), but if you’re going to make that the name of the pastry, you’ve gotta deliver the goods. The flavor isn’t completely absent; there are faint undertones that pop up here and there, like living right on the edge of a radio station’s broadcast radius. When it’s there, it’s nice, but a lot of the time you’re just eating a sugar and creme filling Pop-Tart. Still good, but not nearly as distinctive as it should be.
And that about sums it up. You may want to buy these if you’re a Pop-Tart completist, or if they simply look like the best of all the available options. I don’t think anyone who has a taste for toaster pastries is going to be disappointed in these; they taste good, as long as you’re willing to live with all the sugar and sodium. It’s just that there are far more distinct flavors available, and red velvet fans in particular are liable to judge these and find them wanting.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry – 190 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 16 grams of sugars, 2 grams of protein.)
Other Limited Edition Frosted Red Velvet Pop-Tarts reviews:
Item: Limited Edition Frosted Red Velvet Pop-Tarts
Purchased Price: $2.79 (with BonusCard discount)
Size: 8 toaster pastries
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell. Among the more visually-interesting Pop-Tarts. Sprinkles + melty creme make for good texture. Hard to complain too hard about a taste that is, really, pretty good. Price is right.
Cons: n a flash he was gone, it happened so soon. Very faint red velvet taste. Foil wrappers coming on to me. You’ll forget these existed a month after eating them.