This Pizza Ice Cream Could Use... Some Meat?

Van Leeuwen's latest offering is delicious, but it doesn't live up to its promise.

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Photo: Brianna Wellen

I’m starting to think those birthday wishes I made when blowing out candles as a kid are finally starting to come true, because, holy hell, pizza ice cream is real! It comes to us from Van Leeuwen, the same sick and twisted (in a good way) minds that brought you Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ice cream—which we loved, by the way. Both the mac & cheese and pizza flavors have been rolling out at Walmarts across the country over the past couple of weeks, and will be available nationwide by April 4.

We got our hands on some for a nice little afternoon snack to see if this pint could live up to the majesty of its cheese-flavored brethren.

Does Van Leeuwen’s pizza ice cream taste like pizza?

What this product promises is a cream cheese and mozzarella ice cream with tomato jam swirls and basil crust cookies. Sorry, meat lovers, but you won’t find a bite of pepperoni or sausage—what we’re working with is a plain cheese ’za. Upon first look, the color of the base isn’t quite as orange as the mac & cheese, though with the swirls of tomato and chunks of crust this could easily be confused for some kind of berry cheesecake ice cream if you didn’t know any better.

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And cheesecake, actually, is what the base of the ice cream is reminiscent of. It’s smooth, and the cream cheese really shines through with just a hint of a savory bite from the mozzarella at the end. The tomato jam is on the sweeter side, really leaning into tomato’s fruity qualities. The basil crust brings some nice texture to each bite, though the basil feels lost amid the richness of the ice cream itself.

First things first: Van Leeuwen knows its stuff. The consistency of each bite is perfectly creamy, and the flavor is well-balanced and endlessly eatable. If the company had called this pint of ice cream anything else—Cheesecake Surprise, maybe—it would be perfect. But this is not Cheesecake Surprise. This is Pizza Ice Cream, and there just isn’t enough pizza.

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I’m guessing there’s a lack of true pizza flavor because Van Leeuwen wanted to make an ice cream that actually tastes good. Hats off to them for recognizing that not everyone is like us here at The Takeout, rubbing our grubby little hands together in delight when given the chance to try some truly horrific offerings. Still, I can’t help but feel like they played it safe on this one, scared at the prospect of making this ice cream too savory.

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Maybe there should have been some pepperoni bits. The basil they promise is practically nonexistent in the taste, and there are no other herbaceous flavors often found in pizza to speak of. The tomato is treated almost too much like a fruit instead of a sauce. All that being said, that mozzarella base is perfect, baby, don’t ever change.

Would we buy this again? Absolutely, it’s a delicious bite of ice cream and an excellent addition to anyone’s freezer. We’ll just have to temper our expectations before taking that first bite, and hold out hope for a flavor that lives up to its pizza promises.

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