1 month ago...
It sounded too good to be true, but I bought a pint of Arctic Zero anyway. I keep wanting to call it Aztec Zero for some reason. While strolling down the aisle at Whole Foods, the "150 calories per pint!" advertisement grabbed me by the eyeballs and lured me to the freezer case. How can anything go wrong with 150 calories for a whole pint? (Foreshadowing) I haven't eaten a pint of ice cream since I was in my 20s. I'm not sure why I got excited at the thought, but maybe there's a part of me that recognizes I still tend to be a little bit controlling when it comes to portion size. So I bought a pint: Chocolate Peanut butter. This was going to be good. I even tossed a second pint into my cart, the cookies and cream flavor, convinced even before tasting it that it was bound to be at least palatable.
Of course when I imagined it, I figured it would be exactly like ice cream. Oh who am I kidding? I figured it probably wouldn't be quite that good. Still I had high hopes. Maybe it would be sort of like frozen yogurt or one of those non-dairy ice cream creations. I actually didn't know what to expect, but I assumed it would be at least a little bit like ice cream. I mean, it suggests ice cream on the container, but the ingredients aren't what one would find in typical ice cream. It's made with protein powder and natural sweeteners like stevia, plus loads of gums and flavorings...and water. Water? Hum..but something on the label implies that it's like ice cream (or maybe that was wishful thinking), so I walked out of the store with visions of creamy indulgence in my head.
When I opened the first carton after it had been sitting my home freezer for a few hours, I found it difficult to stick a spoon into the cold concoction. I figured it needed to thaw a little bit before the perfect creamy texture would be reached. I set the little pint on the counter and distracted myself for about 8 minutes. I'm not actually sure how long I waited, and I'm not a good judge of time anyway. I figure it was at least 5 minutes. Still intrigued with the idea of downing a pint in a single sitting, something I did somewhat regularly when I was training hard in college, I tried again to dig into the chilled dessert. I had a bit more luck, but I can't say it was an easy task. I found it more effective to sort of repeatedly scrape off layers of the ice cream into a bowl. The biggest problem was as it melted, instead of getting soft and creamy it got kind of gooey. When I say gooey, it's not the good, fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookie kind of gooey either. This was more like gummy and stringy, as if some kid got into the pantry and randomly mixed a few wrong ingredients in an attempt to make play-dough. Obviously as far as texture goes, this was no ordinary frozen treat. It was more like a protein smoothie frozen solid. It could definitely use a texture upgrade.
Now about the flavor. Um, well, let's just say it was the first time that I wasn't all that into chocolate and peanut butter. Was it really chocolate or "chocolate flavored", and was that peanut butter or the essence of a single peanut that I was detecting? It tasted about as good as 150 calories frozen into a pint-sized container can be expected to taste, maybe even a little worse. I actually think some plain frozen cherries stuffed into a bowl would be a better choice for about the same calorie content. It's not that it was bad, it was more that it didn't have a very strong flavor and the after taste of this bland dessert was oddly strong and not very good. Overall, it tasted sort of like one of those protein drinks that promises all kinds of health benefits and has pictures of guys with big muscles on the label. After slowly scraping and swallowing my way through a large amount of the container, I realized that I didn't really want to eat a whole pint of this stuff in one sitting, so I put it back in the freezer. I was disappointed, not so much that I didn't finish it, but because it wasn't as fun or flavorful an experience as I had imagined. Eating the half pint of frozen yogurt the other day? OK, that was fun. Hee.
I'll stick to the Stonyfield Farms frozen yogurt I mentioned earlier, but when I'm rich one day, I'm buying myself one of those fancy ice cream makers that plugs into the wall and spits out frozen treats in a matter of minutes.