Winter is coming.
And now is the time to prepare.
Because, alongside the vanishing flip-flops, shorter days, and temporary extinction of Super Soakers comes the Annual Freezer Hibernation, that distressing time of year when the ice cream companies swipe the shelves of their limited-time summer bounties, taking with them their Samoas and S’mores as the Good Humor Trucks mosey out into the weary horizon with the anticipation of a predicted dip in ice cream consumption.
However, I also know that, within this magnificent world, there exists a league of talented individuals: the few, the proud, the bat-crazy, dairy-lovin’, cream-o-vore daredevils who dive into the comforting frozen dairy treat smack in the middle of a snowstorm February.
If you happen to look like a forlorn bulldog on the night of the winter solstice as you press your face to the glass in the frozen dessert aisle, fear not, oh wonderful cream-lovin’ crazy! Hope may just be on the horizon! For it seems that those Healthy Choice humans are setting aside their microwave ways and diving into the world of frozen yogurt.
In my domineering obsessions for chocolate and peanut butter, seldom do I gush about the glories of vanilla, and yet vanilla has a certain flexibility and persistence that allows it to transcend the average, holding strong as the backdrop to a barrage of toppings. Fudge, fruit, cones, cups, cookies, and cravings of all sorts can meander their way into vanilla and create a brand new concoction and transform the simple, delicate flavor of vanilla into a new creation.
As a result, I’m guilty of plundering the humble vanilla bean with an abundance of other toppings, mixing and melding and masking away at the taste of the gentle black flower. I decided last week that it has been for too long that I have swept vanilla into the passenger seat. For my first tasting, I am going to let the yogurt stand alone, void of decoration or ornaments.
Come with me, little non-microwavable vanilla ice cream cup, and let us see if the world will smile.
First off, my freezer is so cold it could freeze a bottle of vodka into a stone, so I’m going to set this first cup out for about 15 minutes so as to allow the ice cream melt into the “semi-melt” stage, which might be described as “gloopy” if gloopy were a word. But feel free to defrost to your own liking due to the strength of your freezer and the breadth of your inner ice cream patience (mine happens to be a very short).
(And she dives in with the multi-colored spoon)
My past experience with vanilla ice cream tends to put my taste buds into a state of melancholy despair, leaving my mouth coated in a film of milky vanilla water, but this! This tastes of hope! Hope with hints of honey and caramel! And it even holds a tang that tinges on…is that cheesecake?? Because, if it is, he’s welcome to the join the parade.
With the addition of Greek yogurt, I feared this tang would snake its way into the realm of sour, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s quite a diplomatic tang: neither too strong nor too soft. Thank you, dear vanilla bean, for resolving your flavor contrasts in such a peaceful and delicious manner.
A main kick that knocks me off the ice cream cart is the presence of freezer burn as it invades across the spine of an overly whipped and/or overly watery ice cream landscape. Not so for these little cups. They’re dad-gum creamy. Daisy, the happy Healthy Choice cow, should be pleased with her work here.
Look at that creamy goodness (yup, those are little bitty vanilla bean specks).
Some ice creams make you feel sad, frumpy, and powerless, but not these bounties. Standing at 100 calories per cup, each vanilla-studded miracle has four grams of protein, and even have 10 percent calcium, thus giving you the right to celebrate with flips on the monkey bars with your calcium-fortified bones. What’s more, you’re equipped with three bowls of that empowerment to charge you forth during the rest of your day, and, indeed, you should eat all three: recent studies show that eating Greek frozen yogurt will make you a movie star, which may or may not be something I just made up. I’ll let you decide…
One of the elements that distinguishes the human being from the platypus is the human’s ability to undergo the artist’s cycle of the creation and destruction, and, while I sometimes wish I were a semi-aquatic mammal, I could not be more grateful for this ability as I decided to exploit that human skill on a second tasting. I went with a cone option and melted a little chocolate inside the cone to create a candy shell. I then emptied out the Healthy choice ice cream on that sucker and crunched in. It was divine. Of course, the possibilities don’t stop at cones. You could add some toasted hazelnuts and fudge or strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Or make an ice cream sandwich. Or an affogato. Add ginger cookies. Rainbow chip cookies. Relish in your creative capacity! For three whole cups! Create! Destroy! Repeat!
Since it was hanging around before the Aztecs, I imagine the vanilla bean to be a flower of great wisdom, and the benevolence of the simple flavor present in this frozen yogurt spreads that wisdom, reminding me that nothing need be pushy or aggressive to be strong. With the outgoing supply of summer ice creams, I’m relieved to know that I don’t have to wait for vanilla to come into season as this curiously wonderful little cup, indeed, has crept its non-microwave-safe way into my life and made me smile. Keep up the good work, vanilla.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 100 calories, 15 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 135 milligrams of potassium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)
Item: Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt
Purchased Price: $2.99 (with a coupon)
Size: 3 4-ounce cups/box
Purchased at: Food Emporium
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Vanilla. Creamy. The taste of hope. Cheesecake. Calcium. Single-serving cups. Peaceful diplomacy. Multi-colored spoons. Gloopy. Bat-crazy cream-o-vores. Create! Destroy! Repeat!
Cons: Absence of chocolate option. Ice cream truck hibernation. Forlorn bulldogs. I’m not a platypus.