Kroger Sammie Review
The Kroger-brand ice cream sandwich contained the crunchiest outer shell, according to our panel of judges, and the creamiest ice cream. The combination prompted most to score it as their favorite cheap ice cream sandwich.
We sampled cheap ice cream sandwiches, bars, and cones from three budget brands, as well as two pricier bars, to determine the best.
Our Kroger ice cream treats review concluded that this in-house brand is a solid choice for a quick, easy, and, best of all, cheap frozen indulgence. The line-up of ice cream novelties in our blind tasting involving two other budget brands included the Kroger Sammie sandwich (31 cents/unit), Kroger Arctic Blaster bar (25 cents/unit), and Kroger Fun Daze Sundae cone (60 cents/unit). In all three categories the Kroger product was the cheapest, and in two fared quite well against the other entries.
Our judges ranked the Kroger Sammie as best in class. They were taken with the crunchy outer chocolate cookie compared with others in the category, which were deemed too soft. "Yum," said one of the tasters, "delicious, nice crunch on the wafer." Others declared that "the ice cream is good -- creamy, sweet, and just right." Our judges' assessment was affirmed by a contributor to Yahoo Voices, whose Kroger Sammie review said the novelty hits the spot, with a cookie that's just the right texture (moderately dry and moderately cakey) and a vanilla center that's satisfyingly sweet.
Due to limited selection in the cones category, the Fun Daze Sundae was judged against just one other, the Nestle Drumstick. The Kroger entry put in a decent showing, falling into place behind the Drumstick. The judges praised the vanilla ice cream and the "flavorful" peanuts atop the chocolate coating, but grumbled about a taste that some deemed too artificial and a waffle cone that was too pliable.
Kroger's Arctic Blaster bar was the brand's Waterloo. The "good ice cream flavor" was noted favorably by our tasters but the hard chocolate shell was dismissed for a taste that was slightly off-putting.
About the nutritional content: The Sammie contains 170 calories and 6 grams of fat; the Kroger Artic Blaster provides 150 calories and 10 grams of fat; and a Fun Daze Sundae delivers a whooping 330 calories and 19 grams of fat.
Kroger sells a wide variety of ice cream products (both novelties and containers of various sizes) and an even wider assortment of flavors. Given the low prices and the results of our Kroger ice cream treats taste test, you can confidently put these goodies in your shopping cart.
In our Klondike ice cream treats review we compared two products -- the Klondike Original bar (58 cents/unit, Amazon) and the Klondike Classic Vanilla sandwich (58 cents/unit) -- against comparable products from other budget brands, and against two premium brands in the bars category. The results: They equaled or bested even the pricey competition.
The Original Klondike bar tied for first place with the DoveBar, whose unit price of $1.43 set it up along with a $1.60 bar from Haagen-Dazs as the standard to beat in our hands-on tasting of ice cream novelties. According to one panelist, the "ice cream part is absolutely delicious -- the perfect blend of sweet and vanilla" and is accented by the coating's "great rich, but not overpowering, chocolate taste." Several judges referred to the bar simply as "delicious." A blog review of the Klondike Original highlights the thick shell, saying it tastes like chocolate should and is devoid of any waxy mouth-feel.
Klondike's Classic Vanilla sandwich glided into the runner-up spot in our review of ice cream treats. There was some disagreement among the panelists about the product's overall consistency. Some deemed it perfect, with "creamy ice cream and a soft, but not too soft" chocolate cookie holding the center in place. Others didn't care for the outer chocolate layers, described by one as so soft as to be "almost soggy."
Nutrition-wise, the Klondike Original bar contains 250 calories and 14 grams of fat and the Classic Vanilla sandwich delivers a comparatively svelte 180 calories and 4.5 grams of fat.
The lineup of ice cream novelties bearing the Klondike name is filled with the likes of 11 different ice cream bars (e.g., caramel pretzel and mint chocolate chip), three ice cream "kandy" bars (e.g., cookies & cream and caramel & peanuts), four sandwich varieties (including pairings with Oreo and Mrs. Fields), and other novelties, including several with 100 calories or no added sugar.
"What would you do for a Klondike bar?" is a well-known, registered trademark slogan from a company that started out small. Its roots sprouted in Ohio and Pennsylvania in the early 1920's, when the first Klondike bars were ice cream squares hand-dipped into pans of Swiss chocolate. Today the brand is owned by Unilever and is part of the Good Humor-Breyers family.
Available nationwide, Klondike ice cream products will appeal to a wide assembly of eager consumers.
The Nestle ice cream treats review encompassed three specific products and sparked mixed verdicts from our judges. For this label we included the Drumstick cone (92 cents/unit), Eskimo Pie bar (83 cents/unit), and Vanilla Sandwich (83 cents/unit) in our blind tasting of low-cost ice cream novelties. The final outcome was best, good, and indifferent, for each respective product.
The well-known Drumstick, with its vanilla ice cream nestling under a layer of chocolate coating and splash of chopped peanuts, satisfied the panelists' taste buds. It competed against just one other entry (the Kroger Fun Daze Sundae) and easily emerged the favorite. The panel concluded that the ice cream was "packed with a rich vanilla bean flavor," the cone was "crunchy" and surpassed its rival by far, and overall was "the better of the two." They also noted that it had a "less artificial" taste and feel in their mouths. Consumers who posted comments of various iterations of the original Drumstick theme at Viewpoints applaud loudly, with many asserting this treat is their favorite, reminiscent of childhood and a delicious indulgence in any season.
By contrast, Nestle's Vanilla Sandwich tanked in our review. Only two judges declared it tops, with one calling it the best of the bunch owing to the "soft sandwich" and "creamy, flavorful" vanilla ice cream. The other panelists outweighed the supporters, ranking it last due to a "soggy" chocolate cookie and "just okay" ice cream.
The tasting panel also expressed mixed opinions about the Nestle Eskimo Pie ice cream bar. "It has an initial wow factor -- a strong taste in a good way," declared one juror. But the rest of our tasting panel thought the ice cream was "lacking a strong vanilla flavor" and one member even called it "weird." Nonetheless, it floated into second place for the bar category.
Among these Nestle ice cream novelties, the Drumstick is the most indulgent: 290 calories and 16 grams of fat. Both the Vanilla sandwich and Eskimo Pie are comparatively healthful: 160 calories and 4 grams of fat, and 150 calories and 10 grams of fat, respectively.
Nestle puts out a large assortment of ice cream treats and flavors. The Drumstick line alone includes seven varieties of the classic cone, three "simply dipped" products, three with a so-called flat top, and four "Lil' Drums." Frozen dairy treats also include the Crunch Bar and single-bite Dibs. Nestle owns a stable of brands, such as Haagen-Dazs, Edy's, Skinny Cow, Dreyer's, Frosty Paws, and Wonka.
Dove ice cream treats competed only in one review category (bars) during our blind tasting and registered a stellar performance. Although the DoveBar Vanilla Ice Cream with Milk Chocolate ($1.43/unit) was not an official entry due to a price that is nearly 50 percent above the budget maximum, it helped to set the standard for the cheaper entries. The judges rendered it an equal to the Klondike Original, earning both bars a first-place finish for the category. The hard milk-chocolate coating was the key to the judges' taste buds. This is how they described it: "thick, almost dark-chocolaty flavor," "crunchy, rich chocolate," and "smooth, creamy, exceptional chocolate -- the best chocolate in the bunch." The one taster who wasn't as crazy about it said the chocolate was so strong it overpowered the ice cream.
Online DoveBar reviews wax even more enthusiastically about the two primary elements. One writer at a blog dedicated to ice cream reviews writes of taking one bite and swooning, and describes the Dove treat as a chocolate bar encasing ice cream. She asserted that the chocolate melts on your tongue and the ice cream -- dense, creamy, and full of vanilla flavor -- is the perfect foil for the chocolate.
The DoveBar with Vanilla Ice Cream and Milk Chocolate made its debut on Chicago's Southside in 1939. The company was acquired by M&M/Mars in 1986 and today produces a variety of sweet goodies, including chocolate bars and chocolate candy, and several flavors of ice cream bars and pints.
With 250 calories and 16 grams of fat, Dove ice cream bars are anything but average. And its $1.43 price point is anything but cheap. Still, if chocolate is your thing, the DoveBar is the ice cream treat for you.
You're probably wondering why we included Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Milk Chocolate Ice Cream bars ($1.60/unit) in this review of cheap ice cream novelties. Simply because we figured that at more than double the price of the three budget entries in this category, it would be the cream of the crop and we wanted to see how the other brands stacked up against it. As it turns out, lower-cost ice cream bars surpassed this premium product in our hands-on review. Prior to the blind taste test we conducted with six panelists, several expressed their love for Haagen-Dazs ice cream of all kinds and were certain this novelty would win out. The results of the taste test proved otherwise.
As one reviewer succinctly stated: "It tastes pretty good. I would rank it close to the top but it's not the best." That was the most favorable feedback offered up for this Haagen-Dazs ice cream treat. The rest of our review panel found it bland and lacking any obvious flavor. "Nothing stands out," said one. "Not a great overall flavor of ice cream or chocolate."
Most online comments concern the brand's more creative ice cream bar flavors, such as vanilla milk chocolate almond or salted caramel. One posted at Walmart for the vanilla milk chocolate version that we tested heartily endorses the combination of coating and filling as the perfect summer treat.
And while it might taste good going down, the goodness comes at a high cost -- and we don't necessarily mean monetarily. The Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar contains 280 calories and 20 grams of fat.
The brand was officially introduced in 1960 after getting its start in the Bronx, a New York City borough. By 1973 Haagen-Dazs ice cream was sold throughout the East Coast and in 1976 the first Haagen-Dazs store opened. The company was sold to Pillsbury in 1983. Haagen-Dazs products are all about ice cream and include many different ice cream flavors, gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurts, and of course a variety of bars -- eight to be exact, ranging from the original vanilla to pomegranate and salted caramel.
Given the Haagen-Dazs bar's unimpressive showing in our comparative review and the rich price, don't hesitate to spring for one of the budget brands we tested.