If any of you know me in the slightest, you probably know I love trying bizarre concoctions (see: mustard doughnuts). That’s why when New York–based Van Leeuwen Ice Cream announced that it was selling a new limited-edition Hidden Valley Ranch collaboration exclusively at Walmart, my phone was instantly flooded with texts and direct messages from friends and family, all of which contained some version of, “Dennis, you have to try this and tell us what it’s like!”
As ridiculous as the idea of Hidden Valley Ranch–flavored ice cream is, it’s not the first time Van Leeuwen has pulled a stunt like this. In fact, odd flavors and brand collaborations are some of the company’s greatest strengths. Let’s take a quick look at some past examples, shall we?
Van Leeuwen x Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ice cream
We had our initial hesitation when it came to the ultra-limited Van Leeuwen x Kraft Macaroni and Cheese collaboration. But it turns out the flavor was pretty remarkable. From its pleasing creamsicle color to its creamy, velvety texture, this pint understood how to translate starchy noodles and rich cheese flavor to the sweeter dairy of ice cream.
“I could fully eat a bowl of this and be happy as a clam,” said taste tester Lillian Stone. “And I probably will.”
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Van Leeuwen pizza-flavored ice cream
Van Leeuwen’s pizza-flavored ice cream presented the same challenge as the mac and cheese: how does something so savory map onto something so sweet? Every one of our taste testers decided that, ultimately, there just wasn’t enough “pizza-ness” to this concoction. It was almost too pleasant, offering more of a cheesecake vibe than a pizza one, but the tomato swirl did lend the ice cream a unique kind of fruitiness.
The basil crust crumbled up into the pint brought some nice texture, but if it really wanted to sell us on the pizza concept, well, we’re left with one highly controversial conclusion: This ice cream could have used some meat in the mix. Still, kudos to Van Leeuwen for turning one of our favorite savory foods into ice cream.
Van Leeuwen x Grey Poupon ice cream with Salted Pretzels
Dijon mustard is great primarily because it’s a nasal-clearing condiment with a lot of flavor to it. That’s why we were a little disappointed to find out that the Van Leeuwen x Grey Poupon mashup just didn’t have the punchiness that mustard promises. Its stir-in companion, salted pretzels, were a little mushy for our tastes; it’s a hard texture to uphold when blended into a rich French ice cream. It wasn’t that this pint wasn’t good—it just needed more mustard, the very thing it meant to highlight.
Van Leeuwen x Hidden Valley Ranch ice cream
We haven’t had a chance to taste this one just yet, but we have a feeling this limited-edition flavor will play to Van Leeuwen’s strengths, just as previous collabs have.
“The ice cream boasts the savory flavors of ranch, including buttermilk, flavorful herbs and a touch of sweetness, creating a delicious treat that pairs perfectly with salty snacks,” the press release reads.
The pints will only be available March 20 through May 28, and you’ll find them at most Walmart stores nationwide. It will cost $4.98 per pint, and it’s part of a big new seasonal spring lineup. If you think the ranch flavor just sounds too weird, consider one of the following:
- Sweet Maple Cornbread
- Blood Orange Poppy
- Carrot Cake
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Graham Cracker Crunch
- Limoncello Cake
Sure, the Van Leeuwen brand collaborations have resulted in some pretty delicious ice cream. After all, that’s what Van Leeuwen does best. While Hidden Valley Ranch sounds out of control, it’s all in a day’s work for the creamery. I’m sure to have plenty of thoughts on this ice cream as soon as I try it, because I have some firm opinions on ranch dressing as it is.