Unbranded Chocolate Fudge Swirl Ice Cream (Dollar Tree)

Want to hear our first impressions about Dollar Tree ice creams live? Click here to listen to this episode of our radio show!

A pint of Dollar Tree's Unbranded Chocolate Fudge Swirl ice cream
It grew on me a bit since we taste-tested it live, but still far from flawless.

Just a quick rundown in case you’re joining us late: Dollar Tree sells ice cream now! Yes, real ice cream…not that “frozen dairy dessert” crap that they used to carry that’s mostly vegetable oil. And best of all, they’re available in full pints, giving you a good bit of the stuff, for a very attractive, reasonable price. My wife and I reviewed these live on the air in our radio show, but we’re providing these written recaps for those that might not enjoy listening to two people talking into a microphone.

This one both grew on me, then lost me a bit, which I guess cancels each other out? During the recording of the radio episode, my first impressions were that the chocolate was too bitter, and not an ice cream I would typically get. Well, after downing the rest of the pint (in successive days), I have to say that the chocolate ice cream itself is actually very good. My other initial observations were correct: it’s still not very sweet, but it’s got a delicious, inviting texture, and a flavor that balances on the “bittersweet” beam quite well, and that becomes even better the more you eat it.

However, I must also say that digging further into the pint reveals one of the ways Dollar Tree is able to offer these at such a tempting price: there’s hardly any fudge swirls at all. There aren’t many chocolate chips, either, but the ratio between the two certainly favors the chocolate chip side, as there were some small pockets with multiple chips clustered together.

My question, after running into the same problem (albeit worse) in the cookies and cream variety I reviewed: why have they gone and done this? The base chocolate flavor is good enough to function as a chocolate ice cream all on its own, and ditto that for the vanilla in the cookies and cream version, so why try to add extra things in there if it’s too costly to make it good? Obviously, we all know there has to be a limit on what can be offered for a dollar, and I think we’re seeing it being stretched beyond useful means here.

Alternatively, why can’t they offer slightly smaller sizes - like what they do with the name brand candy bar ice creams they sell - and then just load those up with more toppings and goodies? I think that would be more of a win for the consumer than selling pints with barely anything in them. Or, maybe even better yet, offer just plain flavors, but with a little endcap or something nearby with individual containers of toppings, like sprinkles and hot fudge, and little recipe cards suggesting ideas on things shoppers can add themselves, to make their own personal ice cream creations. After all, what could beat having an ice cream bar at home with the family on a hot summer’s day?

At any rate, most of these ice creams, straight from the carton, function as solid reminders that there are limits to just how far a dollar can carry you.

Overall: 5/10. I more or less swore these off in our live radio episode, but after sitting down to the rest of the pint (over two days, mind you) I have to say that I definitely grew to appreciate the bittersweet chocolate flavor of the ice cream a little bit more. And the texture is on par with other “premium” ice creams, offering up a soft, almost creamy finish that can easily be eaten with a plastic spoon, right out of the freezer. Where it fails, however, is in the decision to add more to the chocolate base: there’s barely any fudge swirls or chocolate chips to be had, which automatically takes the end result down a few levels. Why not offer just plain flavors (chocolate and vanilla, at least), along with recipe cards and endcaps full of toppings and add-ins, encouraging patrons to make their own ice cream bars at home, instead? That would be a win-win for everyone involved.


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