Update 9/9/22: We tried the Tapatio Mexican Hot Chocolate one! Click here to read our review.
Update 9/8/22: We tried most of the Fall 2022 flavors at Walmart! Click here to read our review.
Update 6/13/22: We also reviewed the Van Leeuwen Summer 2022 flavors at Walmart (Summer Peach Crisp, Espresso Fior Di Latte Chip, Campfire S’mores, and Honey Cornbread). Click here to read that review. There’s also a Grey Poupon flavor that we reviewed separately, click here if you want to read that.
Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen currently offers seven ice cream flavors exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide. They’ll be there for ten weeks and then disappear. The lineup includes new and fan-favorite flavors — Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Planet Earth, Pizza (new), Hot Honey, Royal Wedding Cake, Bourbon Cherries Jubilee, and Wild Blueberry Shortcake.
“Hot” is definitely not the right adjective to describe this flavor, but “Slight Back of the Throat Burn After a Few Spoonfuls Honey” is too long to fit on any carton. The burn is so mild that folks who are averse to spicy foods might not mind it.
The pint features a creamy, easy-to-scoop vanilla ice cream base with hard candy honeycomb pieces and hot honey swirls. I’ve eaten 1/4 of the carton, and every spoonful has had a honeycomb piece or some of the swirl. There are enough of the additions that after the first few spoonfuls, I thought the base was also honey flavored, but it turns out some of that sneaky swirl snuck onto my spoon. But I don’t mind because it has a wonderful honey flavor that eventually leads to the back of the throat heat.
The honeycomb candy pieces have a very light honey taste, but I’m fine with that because the swirl does a lot of the heavy honey lifting. They do have a toffee-like crunch, which I love.
This was the first flavor I tried, and I had a difficult time putting it down. Partially because after I started feeling that back of the throat burn, I thought more ice cream would help. But mostly because it’s a tasty flavor.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 320 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 35 grams of sugar (30 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.
Wild Blueberry Shortcake
What’s the difference between wild blueberries and, um, captive blueberries? I spent ten minutes researching that, and after those ten minutes, I realized that I don’t care because this pint of vanilla ice cream, blueberry swirls, and shortcake pieces is divine, and I’d rather eat it than gain blueberry knowledge.
Much like the Hot Honey, there are a lot of mix-ins, honey. I mean, look at all that in the vanilla ice cream. If you’re an archeologist and found that much stuff buried, I believe the academic term for such a discovery is JACKPOT!
The swirl has some tanginess, an occasional blueberry chunk, and reminds me of pie filling, except without the whole blueberries. The shortcake pieces are chewy and, to be honest, a bit boring on their own. But when combined with the swirl, their flavor is enhanced for some reason. Maybe it happened because some of the blueberry’s wildness rubbed onto the shortcake pieces. As for the vanilla base, it’s creamy, easy to scoop, and is pretty much a canvas for the mix-ins.
Am I wild about this Wild Blueberry Shortcake Ice Cream? Yeah. Will I be blue after I finish it? Berry much. Will I short-circuit if I’m not able to taste this flavor again? Cake.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 290 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 29 grams of sugar (22 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.
Bourbon Cherries Jubilee
It has just two components — sweet cream ice cream and swirls of bourbon cherry compote. Much like the pronunciation of Van Leeuwen, I had to look up what compote is. It’s fruit that’s cooked in syrup. Good to know.
While bourbon is in its name and listed in the ingredients, don’t expect this to be boozy-flavored at all. It’s not something that stands out while eating the ice cream. But it does occasionally show up in the aftertaste. The sweet cream base has a noticeably sweeter flavor than the vanilla bases in the other varieties. Much like the blueberry pint, there’s a lot of fruity goodness. But while the blueberry swirl has some fruit, this cherry one has a lot.
It’s a delicious treat, but as I ate it, I couldn’t help but think this kind of tastes like Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, but without the fudge flakes and with more actual cherries. Like the blueberry one, it’s not a unique flavor, but it’s done really well.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 32 grams of sugar (26 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.
If you’re expecting an ice cream flavor that tastes like dirt, water, and plants, I’m not surprised because, as I mentioned earlier, Van Leeuwen also offers pizza and mac & cheese ice cream. But rest assured that the pint just looks like Earth and doesn’t taste like it. Although it’s what Earth looked like millions of years ago (or what it’ll look like several thousand years from now) — mostly water and patches of land popping out of it. Representing the water is a blue spirulina almond ice cream, and the green patches are matcha green tea cake pieces.
Unfamiliar with spirulina? It’s a blue-green algae, which explains the ice cream base’s color. The ingredients list spirulina, but there isn’t a hint of pond scum-ness in the base’s taste. From what I can tell, it’s only used for color. But that color might be messing with my head because it reminds me of cotton candy, and in turn, when I take some bites, it tastes like the carnival treat. Blue raspberry extract is also an ingredient, so I don’t know if that’s what my taste buds notice. But I also recognize the same almond notes I’ve had with other almond-flavored ice creams.
As for the matcha green tea cake, you’ll be disappointed if you’re a matcha maniac. They provide a chewiness that contrasts the creamy base, but don’t have a lot of matcha flavor.
The cotton candy that I think I’m tasting makes me like this pint. My wife didn’t care for it, though. After one spoonful, she said it tasted weird and had enough.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 320 calories, 21 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 130 milligrams of sodium, 180 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar (18 grams of added sugar), and 6 grams of protein.
Royal Wedding Cake
I’m not into royal weddings, and I’m also not too much into this pint that was inspired by the cake served at a particular royal wedding in 2018. It features sweet cream cheese ice cream with lemon sponge cake chunks and layers of elderflower frosting.
It’s a serviceable flavor, but I’d rather have any other pint I reviewed above. There are a few things about it that have me scratching my head. First, why does this feel as if it has nuts even though, after looking through the ingredients twice, there are no nuts? Something about the cake’s texture is probably making me think that. Second, why are geranium water and orange blossom water listed in the ingredients? Finally, why does the elderflower frosting taste like strawberry Guri-Guri from Maui? I realize that’s a reference 99.5 percent of you will not be able to relate to, but I had to mention it tastes like that sherbet. Well, at least the cake has a pleasant lemon flavor, and the sweet cream cheese ice cream isn’t offensive. Though, I did expect it to be tangier.
With Hot Honey, Wild Blueberry Shortcake, and Bourbon Cherries Jubilee, I had a hard time putting them down. But I don’t feel that way about this flavor. Again, it’s okay, but it’s easily my least favorite of the bunch.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 340 calories, 22 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 155 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar (18 grams of added sugar), and 7 grams of protein.
These pints are my first taste of any Van Leeuwen ice cream, and I’m impressed. With most of the varieties, I had some of the same blown away feelings I felt after eating Jeni’s Ice Cream for the first time because they both pack a lot of flavors, thanks to the mix-ins’ quality and quantity.
DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples from Van Leeuwen. Doing so did not influence my review.