New York ice creamery Van Leeuwen has just unveiled a new flavor perfect for the very small demographic of people who have eaten mac and cheese and wondered, “What if this were a frozen dessert?” (Or the people, I guess, who’d like to pretend they live in The Good Place.) In a joint press release published Tuesday, representatives from Van Leeuwen and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese announced that they had teamed up for a collaborative, special edition item: mac and cheese ice cream. To be clear, nobody asked for this. Nobody wanted this. But also, it might actually be pretty good?
“We know that there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than ice cream,” said Emily Violett, Kraft’s Senior Associate Brand Manager, according to Tuesday’s press release. “That is why we wanted to combine two of the most iconic comfort foods to create an ice cream with the unforgettable flavor of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese we all grew up with.” Violett insists that, “just like our Kraft Macaroni & Cheese,” the ice cream is made with “high quality ingredients” and without “artificial flavors, preservatives, or dyes.” Instead, the flavor gets its coloring from Kraft’s infamous cheese sauce mix.
Pints will go on sale July 14 — that is, National Mac and Cheese Day — and be available both online and at Van Leeuwen’s locations, while supplies last. As tempting as it might be to make fun of the creamery’s latest concoction, taste testers are begrudgingly satisfied: The Takeout’s Marnie Shure and Lillian Stone wrote that they were “surprised, and maybe even a little annoyed” to share that the ice cream was good. “I’m getting a teeny, teeny aftertaste, but it’s not like I just ate a bowl of mac and cheese,” Stone wrote. “It truly tastes like cheesecake to me.”
Eater’s Amy Carthy, meanwhile, added that the flavor tasted undeniably nostalgic. “The cheese powder combines with Van Leeuwen’s rich base, made with milk, cream, and sugar, to produce a buttery flavor that’s only slightly cheesy,” wrote McCarthy. “It’s one of those foods that’s so uniquely compelling that you’re going to be confused while eating it, but definitely won’t want to stop.”
Obviously, this flavor will not be for everyone. Van Leeuwen’s is known for, among other things, its excellent vegan options, and mac and cheese ice cream is probably one of the least vegan things you can possibly eat. But at the least, it’s sure to be a bigger hit than, say, the hot pink, candy-flavored mac and cheese Kraft rolled out for Valentine’s Day. I don’t think anyone was calling that “uniquely compelling.”