Here are reviews of Van Leeuwen’s Spring 2023 Flavors at Walmart That Aren’t Hidden Valley Ranch in a non-alphabetical order.
Lemon ice cream and brown sugar cake.
After opening this pint and sniffing, the first thing that popped into my mind was a lemon creme sandwich cookie. Every spoonful showcased the lemon ice cream base heavily. But maybe too much. The brown sugar cake pieces are visually noticeable in the container but not so much in terms of taste when eaten with the citrus-flavored base. I had to go into full Zen mindfulness eating mode to detect their brown sugar flavor.
In the description on the side of the container, there’s no mention of the third component in this — regular cake pieces. The darker chunks in the photo above are the brown sugar cake pieces, and the lighter ones that blend in with the pastel yellow ice cream are the other cake pieces. I’m not sure if they have a lemon flavor because every attempt to taste them on their own involves scooping up a little bit of the lemon ice cream, but I do know that they’re dry, and I kind of wish they weren’t there. So between the two types of cake, there’s nothing that cuts through the lemon, making this taste like a one-note Lemonpalooza.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 270 calories, 16 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 24 grams of sugar (including 19 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.
Sweet Maple Cornbread
Maple ice cream and honey cornbread pieces.
Cornbread has a unique texture and flavor. Unfortunately, I don’t notice either in this ice cream. But I do detect the maple. It’s hard to miss it. It smells like every “maple” or “pancake” product I’ve ever had, and the maple taste overwhelms every bite. So much so that whatever flavor the cake pieces have, it’s not noticeable.
If I gave someone a scoop of this and told them it was a maple syrup ice cream with pancake pieces, I’m pretty sure they would be convinced after one spoonful. Because, again, the cake pieces here don’t have that unique cornbread texture. Instead, they have the texture of regular cake that’s a bit dry from sitting in the freezer, which can easily be confused with pancakes that have been sitting in the freezer.
Now with all of that said, there is nothing wrong with this sweet maple cornbread ice cream tasting and feeling like maple syrup and pancake ice cream. I’d eat this again if offered.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 18 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar (including 16 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.
Cheesecake ice cream and carrot cake pieces.
Yes, this Carrot Cake flavor has carrots listed in the ingredients in the form of a powder. Do I taste carrots? I think I do. But what I absolutely know is that this is the best tasting flavor of the Spring 2023 Walmart lineup, and I had a hard time putting it down. It’s hide-in-the-back-of-the-freezer-on-the-lowest-shelves-so-no-one-else-sees-it-great.
The cheesecake ice cream base has a little tang, but not as much as an actual cheesecake, and it could be mistaken for Van Leeuwen’s sweet cream ice cream that’s in other flavors I’ve covered in this review. But that tang gets amped up a bit when eaten with the cake pieces for some reason.
Those carrot cake chunks are what elevate this pint. With other cake varieties in this lineup, I’ve mentioned that the pieces were dry and crumbly and didn’t add much flavor, but that’s not the case here. Their texture is what I wish the pieces in the other pints were like. They’re dense, a little moist, and a little chewy. It was as if they were made to survive being in ice cream. Their flavor was equally impressive, with a mild cinnamon flavor and brown sugar notes, and even pecans in the mix. But not only do they taste pleasant, there were a lot of them.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 18 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar (including 18 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.
Vanilla ice cream, jam from Oregon-grown strawberries, and shortcake pieces.
I know I listed vanilla ice cream as a component, but to be honest, I’m not sure if the base is vanilla or strawberry. The pint says, “The goodness in this flavor includes cold-ground vanilla, jam from Oregon-grown strawberries, and pieces of shortcake.” The wording makes me assume it’s vanilla, but when I tried to taste just the base, it tasted like strawberries. So either the base is berry-flavored, or there’s a lot of strawberry jam jammed into every pint, so it’s nearly impossible to isolate the vanilla.
The swirl from Oregon-grown strawberries was delightful and sort of had a farmer’s market feel because I noticed strawberry seeds every so often. As for the cake pieces, much like the ones in the Carrot Cake variety, they are dense, moist, and chewy with a mild brown sugar flavor. Also, I could’ve sworn I tasted on occasion something that reminded me of whipped cream when eating spoonfuls with the shortcake pieces. I wonder if Van Leeuwen would go that far to create every facet of a strawberry shortcake. But then again, the company went that far to recreate a Hidden Valley Ranch ice cream, so maybe it’s not my imagination.
Overall, great flavor, but not as good as Carrot Cake.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar (including 23 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.
Blood Orange Chocolate Chip
Sweet cream ice cream, blood orange swirls, and dark chocolate chips.
This stood out to me because it’s something I’ve never tasted before. Well, actually, it’s two things I’ve tasted before separately but never combined. As you can probably guess, the base and dark chocolate chip combo tastes like chocolate chip ice cream, and the fruity swirls and sweet cream ice cream remind me of an orange creamsicle. But when combined, it’s something familiar, yet different.
The blood orange swirls are the stars of the pint. Have you ever had a blood orange? They’re sweeter and less acidic than standard oranges, and that’s how the swirls taste in this. But you must get a thick enough swirl to really get the blood orange flavor. If you don’t, the spoonful will taste like plain old chocolate chip. That’s better than the paper container this comes in, but it’s much better with the orange goo, so dig for them. The chocolate chips’ bitterness cuts through the sweet swirl and base, and their snap adds texture to the pint. But I must admit that sometimes I like that they’re there, but other times I don’t because I’m enjoying the blood orange swirl and sweet cream combo a bit too much.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 17 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 27 grams of sugar (including 22 grams of added sugar), and 4 grams of protein.
Honey Graham Cracker
Brown sugar ice cream, graham cracker pie crust pieces, and swirls of honey.
Some folks might find this flavor boring because it seems too simple, but it stood out to me. Its brown sugar aroma beckons me. Much like other flavors here, I thought the ice cream base might be the dominant flavor in this pint, but that’s not the case. The graham cracker pie crust pieces have a decent amount of cinnamon. So don’t think of them as tasting like s’mores graham crackers.
Finally, there are the honey swirls, which are the surprise of the pint. Sometimes I see them, but sometimes I don’t, and a lot of the times when I don’t, I still taste the honey. Brown sugar + graham crackers + cinnamon + honey = a great flavor combination.
The pie crust pieces had a nice texture. They’re not what I’d consider crunchy but are a bit denser and, thankfully, not as crumbly and dry as the cake pieces in the Limoncello Cake and Sweet Maple Cornbread flavors.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 16 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 24 grams of sugar (including 19 grams of added sugar), and 5 grams of protein.
I wrote “pint” several times in this review, but these have 14 fl oz.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary product samples from Van Leeuwen. Doing so did not influence my review.