We tried the Kraft mac and cheese ice cream flavor: review


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Some things shouldn’t be combined. Those things include Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and ice cream.

Van Leeuwen, a hip, Brooklyn-based ice cream company that also sells flavors like Earl Grey Tea and Royal Wedding Cake, partnered with Kraft to create a limited edition flavor based on the iconic pasta. The flavor launched on July 14 to celebrate National Mac and Cheese Day. You can get it by the scoop at Van Leeuwen shops in New York, California, Texas, and New Jersey, or online for $12 a pint, though it is currently sold out. Of course, we at Mashable got our hands on some.

Listen, I wanted to like it. I really did. Before eating it, I saw several reviews say it was surprisingly good. I am actually a gigantic fan of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and I had a whole box for lunch literally last week. But putting the iconic neon orange cheese into ice cream was simply NOT IT, my friends. Here’s why.

Getting the ice cream

OK, so getting my hands on the actual ice cream was probably the best part of the experience. On launch day, Van Leeuwen parked a blue, Kraft-inspired ice cream truck in Union Square in New York to hand out free cups of ice cream to anyone passing by. When I showed up right after it opened, the line was already down the block.

One of two pints I was given.

Credit: mashable/jennimai nguyen

So. Long.

So. Long.

Credit: Mashable/jennimai Nguyen

The taste test

Color

If you worried that the ice cream version of your favorite childhood meal wouldn’t have the same orange luster, worry not.

Very orange, but not quite as bright as the OG mac and cheese.

Very orange, but not quite as bright as the OG mac and cheese.
Credit: Mashable/jennimai nguyen

When I cracked the pint open, I was greeted by the familiar orange hue, albeit a little duller than that of the original mac and cheese. If I didn’t know that it was mac-and-cheese flavored, the color would probably lead me to believe it was some kind of citrusy ice cream, tangerine or mango maybe. Oh, how I wish that were the case.

Rating: 7/10. Points for the orange, but not quite the neon orange I was hoping for.

Texture

This is the aspect of the ice cream that was genuinely good. The texture was SUPER soft. Van Leeuwen specializes in French ice cream, which is made with eggs — rather than just milk or cream and sugar, like American ice cream — giving it a thicker, more custard-like texture. The Kraft version did not disappoint in this area, and I was delighted to dip my spoon into into the rich, supple, orange surface.

The ingredient list was pretty short, technically just four ingredients: milk, cane sugar, egg yolks, and Kraft cheese sauce. The label said the orange color comes from turmeric and annatto added to the cheese sauce.

I will say this ice cream seemed to melt remarkably quickly. I took it out of the freezer for about five minutes before digging in, and there was a considerable amount of ice cream goop pooling around the edges. The center of the pint was still solid, but the melted part did look a lot like actual cheese sauce, which was… concerning.

Rating: 8/10. The part that was frozen was so nice and soft, but the goop was off-putting.

Smell

I don’t know if you’ve tried to smell ice cream before, but uh, ice cream does not have a smell. For some reason, I thought the cheese element would produce a smell, but I’m happy to report that mac and cheese ice cream is just like any other ice cream: scentless.

Rating: 10/10. Thank god. I think a cheesy smell would have made me gag.

Taste

Here it is, folks. What you came here to find out: The Kraft x Van Leeuwen ice cream tastes like … cheese powder.

I’m sorry, but it really does. I so badly wanted to experience a magical salty-sweet explosion in my mouth, like so many other reviewers claimed to have tasted. Instead, from the second the ice cream reached my lips, it tasted wrong.

It doesn't get more genuine than this, folks.

It doesn’t get more genuine than this, folks.
Credit: mashable/jennimai nguyen

It wasn’t a complex, subtle flavor that combined the best parts of mac and cheese and ice cream. It tasted, to me, like vanilla ice cream with Kraft cheese powder sprinkled on top. It tasted like what I imagine snorting an entire package of the cheese powder would taste like.

While I wanted to love it, even if only for the vibes, the nostalgia wasn’t enough to convince me that this was actually good.

If you don’t believe me, I enlisted several other people to try it out too. Their initial thoughts:

“It kinda tastes like nacho cheese in a cardboard pint. I would literally rather stuff my face with Cheez Whiz from a can than this.” -Brenda Stolyar, fellow Mashable reporter who I forced to try this with me.

“I don’t know even know what I feel. It’s like if I just took the powder from the packet and poured it down my throat, straight.” – My boyfriend, also forced to try it with me.

“Delicious.” – Brenda’s roommate’s dog, who we gave the pint to.

Rating: 2/10. Points for nostalgia and accurate Kraft flavor, but I would like to never eat this again.

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