Brooklyn-based ice creamery Van Leeuwen has risen to snack food cultural prominence over the past year with its novelty offerings mimicking Mac & cheese, pizza, and most recently, Grey Poupon mustard. It also does more “normal” seasonal flavors, like the spring variety we reviewed in April. It’s back for the summer with four new selections: Summer Peach Crisp, Campfire S’mores, Espresso Fior Di Latte Chip, and Honey Cornbread with Strawberry Jam.
Espresso Fior Di Latte Chip
Okay, so confession time: I didn’t know what “Fior di Latte” was. I ate this ice cream without checking, assuming it was just several words meaning “a kind of Italian coffee.” Much to my surprise, Fior di Latte is actually several words for “a kind of Italian cheese.” I’m glad I didn’t know that going in, or I’m afraid it may have negatively colored my opinion of this delightful ice cream. Going back with my newfound knowledge, though, yes, you can definitely pick up a salty swirl from the cheese. It blends perfectly with the strong coffee flavor, and the dark chocolate chips and graham pieces interspersed throughout make this the second best pick out of the bunch.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 310 calories, 19 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar (18 grams of added sugar), and 6 grams of protein.
Summer Peach Crisp
My first thought on this was, “oh, snap, where’s the peach?” What I didn’t yet know -— but what I subsequently learned here, and then again with the S’mores version -— is that sometimes your Van Leeuwen pint is like Roanoke Island: to get to the treasure, you’ve gotta dig deep. Once you get to the syrupy peach swirl, it’s great, but there’s far too little of it overall. The “gluten-free oat pieces” meant to approximate the crust of a crumble, however, are too abundant, and they detract from the experience. This is worth getting if it’s all you see at the store, but I wouldn’t go nuts trying to find it.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 300 calories, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 29 grams of sugar (21 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.
Though my overall favorite changes often, Rocky Road is always in my top five favorite ice cream flavors. Campfire S’mores -— which includes two key Rocky Road components -— is sinfully good. The marshmallow is inexplicably fluffy and chewy, and the rich fudge swirl defies all culinary scientific explanation by somehow remaining malleable and syrupy; this is not your grandfather’s frozen fudge ribbon. The ice cream itself purports to be “toasted marshmallow,” but it was indistinguishable from regular vanilla. Even still, this ice cream is Hall of Fame worthy, and it took considerable willpower to not down the container in a single sitting.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 310 calories, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 30 grams of sugar (20 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.
Honey Cornbread with Strawberry Jam
Look, I get that this was an attempt at adventurousness, but there’s a reason we don’t put cornbread in ice cream. The texture was gritty and off-putting and, well, very cornbread-y. Great with a Southern dinner, but maybe not in my frozen dessert. The strawberry jam was rich and strong, and while it could have potentially helped keep this tolerable, like the peach pint, there wasn’t enough of it. Of the four, this was the only one I was not compelled to save for later.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 310 calories, 18 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 31 grams of sugar (24 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.
Except for the Cornbread variety, I would repurchase all of these. Even the cheese one. In the case of the S’mores version, I may buy a whole pallet’s worth.
All pints were $4.98 and purchased at Walmart.