REVIEW: Mtn Dew Liberty Brew

Mtn Dew Liberty Brew

What is Mtn Dew Liberty Brew?

Honoring all fifty states Dewnited under the Dew Nation flag, this limited edition brew promises to do its country proud by packing each bottle with 50 different flavors and enough Blue #1 to put Old Glory to shame.

How is it?

Much like shave ice in Hawaii, which you can mix and match all kinds of syrups, it’s hard to decipher where one flavor in Liberty Brew ends and another begins. If I had to pick, Blue Raspberry is probably the most prominent one of the bunch, but everything’s so blended together that it’s hard to pick any individual taste out.

Mtn Dew Liberty Brew Glass

Lacking the slight citrus-lime punch featured in regular Mountain Dew, Liberty Brew somehow seems even sweeter by comparison, and no aspect of it made me want to finish my bottle. Actually, it kind of reminds me of a melted Blue Raspberry ICEE, just without the disappointment of anticipating a frozen treat and finding out the machine is broken.

Is there anything else you should know?

This is a drink best enjoyed in one sitting. Despite the cap, it gets flat pretty quickly, and I thought it began to taste unsettlingly close to cough syrup once it wasn’t fizzy anymore.

Conclusion:

Despite its distinctly patriotic branding, I’d skip on offering Mtn Dew Liberty Brew at cookouts and gatherings this summer. Just stick to buying the original stuff.

Purchased Price: $1.88
Purchased at: Walmart
Size: 20 fl. oz.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: (1 bottle) 280 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of sodium, 75 grams of total carbohydrates, 75 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Stuffed Puffs Filled Marshmallows

Stuffed Puffs Filled Marshmallows

What are Stuffed Puffs Filled Marshmallows?

Forget about Kraft’s Jet-Puffed, because these puffs are packing some serious stuff! Chocolate stuff, that is.

Created to be the perfect companion for celebratory bonfires and unexciting graham crackers alike, these pillowy cylinders of fluff feature a melt-ready chocolate filling packed into a soft marshmallow shell.

How are they?

In terms of packaged snacks, marshmallows are so simple that it’s hard to think of too many things to critique them on. Nearly all brands seem to be identical in appearance and made almost purely of sugar. In fact, they don’t even have to be different, because they’re generally accepted to be a homogenous kind of treat.

Stuffed Puffs Filled Marshmallows Puff

And so, Factory LLC deserves applause for bringing something different into the mallow game. Flavored marshmallows are almost standard by this point, but filled ones are still novel and unique. Better yet, the filling here helps accentuate the best aspects of a marshmallow’s vanilla flavor and chewy texture, and it even tastes pretty darn good all by itself.

Stuffed Puffs Filled Marshmallows Innards

Rather than using either a rock-solid or lava-like filling, Factory LLC instead decided to go with something in-between, creating a center that resembles a whipped Hershey bar in the process. Melting almost instantly on your tongue, it’s pleasantly creamy and smooth and showcases the use of real cocoa and cocoa butter. Honestly, if the filling itself was for sale, I’d buy it so that I could frost cupcakes with it. It’s that good!

Is there anything else you should know?

To test the package’s claim of being “Great for S’ mores!” I decided to roast a few over a backyard fire, intending to fashion them in-between some slightly stale graham crackers I had found languishing in the back of my snack cabinet. Sadly, I found it pretty much impossible to thoroughly toast one without having it fall off my roasting stick, tumbling into the roaring flames below. The issue was the center – it liquefied before the marshmallow was completely toasted, and the thin, melting exterior of the treat was insufficient to support the puff’s weight on my stick.

Stuffed Puffs Filled Marshmallows S mores

After multiple attempts, I gave up and ultimately broiled them in the toaster oven. This method worked much better, allowing the puffs to melt evenly onto graham crackers without needing to support their weight. Here, they did make for delicious s’ mores, complete with all the gooey, melty, sticky messiness that separates mediocre s’ mores from genuinely great ones.

Conclusion:

If you’re on the hunt for a switch-up from standard marshmallows and are willing to swing for the higher price tag, then I’d say these are worth a buy. Just don’t expect to be able to use them in place of typical campfire marshmallows, because they are better suited for indoor toasting.

Purchased Price: $3.98
Purchased at: Walmart
Size: 10 oz.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts:: (2 pieces) 150 calories, 6 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 19 grams of total sugars, 19 grams of added sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Red, White & Blueberry and Ice Cream Sammie

Ben  Jerry s Red White  Blueberry and Ice Cream Sammie

As spring winds down and electricity bills ramp up from air conditioning, grocery stores nationwide are busy curating their ice cream supplies to make room for this season’s newest releases.

Walmart is no exception, and it’s entirely appropriate that it, as the most distinctly “American” superstore, be the exclusive distributor of Ben & Jerry’s two newest pints celebrating summer in the USA.

Red, White & Blueberry

This Old Glory-themed pint blends pieces of shortbread cookies with raspberry, blueberry, and vanilla ice creams. Colorful name aside, this appears woefully pale under the lid, and its taste is similarly one-note.

Ben  Jerry s Red White  Blueberry

Rather than enhancing the more interesting blueberry and raspberry ice cream swirls, the intense vanilla base comprised roughly 70% of this pint’s volume, and almost entirely masked every unique component promised in this flavor’s description.

Granted, Ben & Jerry’s makes an excellent vanilla ice cream (so excellent, in fact, that Delish.com declared it to be the best vanilla ice cream you can buy in stores), but nobody is buying this Walmart-exclusive because they want something so…vanilla.

Blueberry is a woefully underrepresented flavor in the frozen dessert aisle, and I was hoping for this to be its moment to break out into the limelight. Sadly, the only blueberries I found were in the swirl’s light purple color. Somehow, the raspberry ice cream was even more indecipherable. I didn’t see a single trace of pink or red in my entire container.

Even the shortbread pieces seemed uninspired. Although not entirely terrible, they were soggy, lacked any notion of creativity, and didn’t seem up to par with Ben & Jerry’s usual “everything plus the kitchen sink” attitude.

Ice Cream Sammie

Supposedly a more expensive and less portable spin on the classic childhood treat, Ice Cream Sammie combines chocolate sandwich cookies and chocolate cookie swirls into a base of rich vanilla ice cream.

Ben  Jerry s Ice Cream Sammie

Like Red, White & Blueberry, this flavor also failed to live up to my expectations. Unlike its sister pint, however, the issue here isn’t from lack of flavor. Rather, the true nature of this pint is misrepresented by its name. The cookies used here are basically Oreo-like, not true ice cream sandwich wafers. That difference may seem minor, but the impact it has on how this ice cream comes across is enormous.

Rather than reminding me of actual ice cream sandwiches, this is more like Cookies ‘N Cream on steroids. Is it a good version of Cookies ‘N Cream? Yes, absolutely! (And if you’re into Cookies ‘N Cream, then this is something for you to pick up on your next trip to Wally World). But is it like those unmeltable ice cream sandwiches I loved so much as a kid? Not even close.

Although those in search of the ultimate Cookies ‘N Cream may dig Ice Cream Sammie, both of these Walmart-exclusives were way off the mark for me. With so many other delicious options from Ben & Jerry’s, I’d recommend sticking to your usual favorites during your next ice cream run.

Purchased Price: $3.48 each
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Red, White & Blueberry)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Ice Cream Sammie)
Nutrition Facts: (1/2 cup) Red, White & Blueberry – 220 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein. Ice Cream Sammie – 290 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of total fat, 8 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Heinz Kranch Saucy Sauce

Heinz Kranch Saucy Sauce

What is Heinz Kranch Saucy Sauce?

Standing proudly as Heinz’s latest crazy condiment mashup, this special saucy sauce combines two of America’s favorite condiments – ketchup and ranch dressing – and puts them into a single, convenient squeeze bottle.

How is it?

As much as I loved the taste and novelty of Mayochup, I can’t seem to get behind Kranch in the same way. On the surface, both agglomerations sound like solid, if not slightly-too-similar ideas. Mayonnaise is an integral ingredient in ranch dressing, and both spreads have long-standing reputations as all-purpose accoutrements.

The problem is that Kranch’s practical applications are much more limited than Mayochup’s. I like ketchup. I like ranch. Even so, I can’t think of many foods I would enjoy with both ketchup and ranch.

Heinz Kranch Saucy Sauce Plated

Although Kranch doesn’t taste bad, per se, I could never figure out a single food I liked it on. It was too ketchup-esque to use as a dip for fresh veggies, but also too much like salad dressing to make a good sidekick for chicken nuggets and alphabet fries. I didn’t like it as salad dressing and thought it made a terrible sandwich spread.

Heinz Kranch Saucy Sauce Chicken Nugget

Is there anything else you should know?

Since this is now Heinz’s fourth take on mixing condiments that everybody has at home and calling it something new, I’m beginning to think the company is just on a quest to dominate shelf-space in the condiment aisle. At this rate, grocery stores are going to have to carve out a special enclave for the growing saucy sauce family.

Conclusion:

Given its limited applications and simple composition, Kranch doesn’t deserve the space it’ll hog in your refrigerator. Rather than buying this, I’d recommend saving your $3.00 and mixing some ketchup and ranch at home.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Purchased at: Walmart
Size: 19 fl. oz.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 tablespoons) 100 calories, 10 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of added sugars, 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kit Kat Cones

Kit Kat Cones

What are Kit Kat Cones?

Entering into the frozen treat category just in time for the warmer weather, these Kit Kat-themed Drumsticks offer vanilla frozen dairy dessert with a chocolatey coating and a fudge core placed atop a crispy sugar cone.

Kit Kat Cones Back of Box

How are they?

Despite being as enjoyable as any other Drumstick flavor, I couldn’t help but feel a little let down by these. Although each component was good and made a tasty dessert when combined, none were able to capture the experience of eating an actual Kit Kat and translate it into a frozen dairy dessert form.

Kit Kat Cones Pristine

Putting aside the Kit Kat branding for a moment, it’s hard to find many other faults here. Between the vanilla ice cream, crisp chocolatey shell, and airy wafer bits, everything is really well balanced. Even the cones were crisp and fresh, and far exceeded my expectations. If I had to knock Nestle on anything else, it would be the fudge filling’s blandness. Although clearly present, it wasn’t flavorful enough to compete against everything else this treat has, and Nestle could have nixed it without compromising quality.

Kit Kat Cones Core

The main issue I have with these is that the box was the only aspect actually reminiscent of a real Kit Kat. The wafer bits stuck in the chocolatey coating weren’t prominent enough to simulate biting into a finger of the famous candy, and neither the sugar cone shell nor the chocolate coating tasted anything like the classic candy.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Kit Kat Cones Bite

Nestlé would have been better off by taking the lead from Snickers Ice Cream Bars and modeling the form of these after actual Kit Kat wafers. They would have been a lot more successful if they had layered vanilla ice cream in-between stacked wafer cookies and just covered the entire thing in milk chocolate.

Conclusion:

Although Nestle’s new Kit Kat Cones are a worthy entry into the Drumstick line, they aren’t similar enough to their candy inspiration to justify the branding behind them. Rather than buying these, I’d recommend eating regular Kit Kats out of the freezer.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 4 cones pack
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cone) 280 calories, 12 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Haagen-Dazs Spirits Collection Ice Cream (U.S.)

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Ice Cream

Judging from the length of their corresponding aisles at the grocery store, it’s no secret that Americans love alcohol and ice cream. Despite this, mergers between the two seem rare with mainstream brands.

Befitting of the most drunken-sounding ice cream brand, Haagen-Dazs has risen to fill this void of boozy frozen desserts with the release of its new Spirits Collection. Each pint features a different variety of popular liquor, paired alongside indulgent mix-ins, and Haagen-Dazs’ famously rich ice cream.

Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle

Perhaps the most basic of the bunch, this offering blends classic vanilla ice cream with miniature chocolate truffles and a spicy bourbon swirl.

Although that description may sound unexciting when compared to this line’s other offerings, this flavor goes to show that ice cream doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. With a dense, sweet, vanilla bean-flecked base, I found it easy to appreciate this variety’s superb consistency and mouthfeel, and the tiny truffles dotted throughout helped to provide intermittent bursts of crunch and texture.

Rather than finding distinct ribbons of bourbon swirled throughout, I tasted hints of booze in each spoonful and found the alcohol’s slight edge helped to make this flavor seem like an “adult’s only” version of vanilla bean ice cream.

Purchased Price: $4.39
Purchased at: Food Lion
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 340 calories, 20 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 34 grams of total sugars, 29 grams of added sugars, and 4 grams of protein.

Rum Tres Leches

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Rum Tres Leches

This flavor swirls a trio of south-of-the-border indulgences — generous chunks of tres leches, dulce de leche, and a rum-infused base.

Don’t speak Spanish? Then I’ll translate for you – this is a white rum ice cream with chunks of cake soaked in sweetened condensed milk and ribbons of gooey caramel sauce. And, yes, it’s as tooth-achingly sweet as it sounds.

Although I like each component individually, they’re too much when together. The alcohol, although detectable, is much more muted than in the Bourbon Vanilla Truffle, and the milk-soaked cake pieces were surprisingly dry and stale. Rather than buying this, I’d recommend heading down to your local Mexican restauranté and drinking a mojito or two alongside a slice of traditionally prepared Tres Leches.

Purchased Price: $4.39
Purchased at: Food Lion
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 360 calories, 21 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 35 grams of total sugars, 25 grams of added sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

Irish Cream Brownie

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Irish Cream Brownie

Voyaging across the Atlantic, this St. Patrick’s Day-approved variety utilizes an Irish cream-flavored base, brownie chunks, and a fudge swirl.

Calling the brownie bits “chunks” is being pretty generous, though, because I got very few fully intact pieces in my pint. Instead, most were obliterated in a brownie crumb explosion that masked whatever pitiful amount of fudge swirl Haagen-Dazs managed to get into this flavor.

I didn’t think the Irish Cream base was anything special, either. It tasted good – all Haagen-Dazs tastes good – but I would have been just as happy to pour some Baileys on top of a scoop of its vanilla ice cream.

Purchased Price: $4.39
?Purchased at: Food Lion
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Rating: 6 out of 10
?Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 360 calories, 21 grams of total fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 25 grams of added sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

Stout Chocolate Pretzel Crunch

Haagen Dazs Spirits Collection Stout Chocolate Pretzel Crunch

Also drawing inspiration from Ireland, this pub-grub-styled dessert features stout-infused chocolate ice cream mixed with chocolate covered pretzels and a fudge swirl.

Similar to the previous flavor, this variety also suffered from having a less than impressive fudge swirl. Even so, I didn’t find myself missing the swirl’s added richness as much here, because I thought the chocolate stout base was plenty satisfying by itself. Although I had initially been concerned about its boozy infusion being covered up by cocoa, my concerns were unjustified, as the two flavors work to complement one another well.

The chocolate covered pretzels were similarly well-executed. I find that most pretzels tend to get soggy in ice cream, but these were pleasantly crunchy and added a needed pop of salt that helped to break through the dessert’s richness.

Purchased Price: $4.39
Purchased at: Food Lion
Size: 14 fl. oz.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 360 calories, 19 grams of total fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 32 grams of total sugars, 27 grams of added sugars, and 6 grams of protein.

Conclusion:

Although each of these flavors has minor flaws, Haagen-Dazs is definitely on the right track by expanding its library of desserts to include its Spirits Collection. I only hope other brands will follow its lead because booze-infused ice cream is a trend that I can get behind!