As someone who loves ice cream and novelty flavors but can’t eat chocolate, Wendy’s has really had my back this past year. Its classic vanilla Frosty has been on vacation and in its place we’ve been blessed with a different topical (but always still vanilla-based) flavor for each season, starting with strawberry last summer and peppermint in the winter and now leading us to the champion of fall, pumpkin spice.
New flavors like these often have one of two problems: they either taste too much like plain vanilla with just a sprinkle of the specialty flavor or go the opposite direction and overdo it with a flavor that’s too intense to enjoy. But pumpkin spice squad, rejoice — both of those pitfalls are avoided here!
I do have to start by mentioning that the color initially gave me a Halloween-level fright. I would typically associate pumpkin spice with a deep, bright orange or perhaps even a rusty brown. This light orange Frosty, on the other hand, is a hue that only reminded me of spicy mayo. Fortunately, if you can abstain from judging this book by its cover, you’ll soon notice that the flavor is just what it’s supposed to be.
Right off the bat, the aroma was pumpkin spice-y but not overpowering, which set the tone for the sophisticated subtlety that this flavor would bring. It was a wonderful blend of sweet and spiced, combining the simple creaminess of vanilla with a lively pumpkin spice flavor whose notes of cinnamon never felt syrupy or artificial. On the scale of autumnal sweets, its mild, balanced flavor reminded me more of pumpkin puree than of the sugar bombs that often occur with pumpkin spice desserts. I was afraid it’d be indulgent to the point of queasiness, but I didn’t feel that way at all.
I also need to shout out the consistency, which, in typical Frosty fashion, was soft enough to melt in your mouth but also held its form well enough to avoid dripping everywhere. This velvety, not-quite-liquid, not-quite-solid state was so intriguing to me that I dared to forego my spoon and try slurping it through a straw instead. Even as someone who loves thick shakes, I admit it was unfeasible right off the bat, but after five or so minutes, when my Frosty had softened a bit, I was able to sip it with ease and really enjoyed the experience.
Perhaps the thing that excited me most about this Frosty, though, is the seasonal potential it made me dream up. What if you dolloped some on top of a slice of pumpkin pie or whipped it into an apple cider float? Of course, it’s absolutely delicious on its own, but the flavor is so clean and well done that I imagine it’d be a perfect complement for any number of creative combos.
If you like pumpkin spice even a little, I’d strongly advise catching this flavor before it falls away like the leaves. Though if you do happen to miss it, you can always join me in making bets for the likely-inevitable spring Frosty… Peeps, anyone?
Purchased Price: $4.24
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 550 calories, 13 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 94 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 83 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein