After shaving two thin layers off the top of Van Leeuwen’s Hidden Valley Ranch Ice Cream, I closed my eyes and thought it tasted familiar.
I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Well, DUH! It tastes like Hidden Valley Ranch!” Yeah, I know. I’m familiar with the flavor because I buy the 40-ounce bottle two-pack at Costco once a year to help convince my body to eat more salad. But after shaving off a few thicker layers that could legally be considered “spoonfuls,” I realized this weird ice cream flavor tastes like another odd dessert creation in a pint — Van Leeuwen’s Pizza Ice Cream.
However, after comparing ingredient lists, they don’t share any savory ones, so I’m not sure why they remind me of each other. To get the savory ranch taste, the ice cream was made using buttermilk powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and other natural flavors. Those components make this smell like it’s not going to be a fun time.
It also doesn’t initially taste like a fun time because the buttermilk, salt, onion and garlic powders, and herb flavors strike the taste buds hard. But after subsequent attempts at eating it, the sweetness in the base starts to come out and the savory ingredients fade a bit, making the ice cream a bit more edible. Much like the pizza flavor, once I got past the initial savoriness, it turned out to be, um, I can’t think of a word that means just under okay. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, and maybe eating Van Leeuwen’s previous unusual creations has made my taste buds ready for whatever the brand offers.
Because I always have Hidden Valley Ranch in my kitchen, I could compare the two, and the notable difference between them, other than sweetness levels, is that the dressing has a stronger eggy and buttermilk flavor that would’ve been awful in the ice cream. Also, because I always seem to have McDonald’s in my house, I could find out how this is as a McNuggets dipping sauce. It’s, um, not something I’d do again because the savory ingredients get somewhat negated by the ice cream’s sweetness. Also, because I constantly try to convince my body to eat salad, I happen to have some lettuce and raw spinach in my house. So I topped them with ice cream, and learned it’s not a good salad dressing because of the taste and how it slides off the vegetables.
I imagine 99 percent of you will find Van Leeuwen’s Hidden Valley Ranch Ice Cream utterly disgusting, and I completely understand, but I think of it differently. I wouldn’t call it delicious or even good. I don’t even think I could eat a bowl of it. But it’s okay in small doses; a creative novelty that makes me smile and grimace at the same time; I haven’t thrown it out after eating 1/6th of the pint so far; and I love that Van Leeuwen had the Nads Leeuwens to sell this. Those are the nicest things I can say about it. But if you have an adventurous palate, it’s worth a try.
DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Van Leeuwen. Doing so did not influence my review.
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 14 fl oz
Purchased at: Received from Van Leeuwen, but it’s available at Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 260 calories, 18 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar (including 15 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.