Friday, July 31, 2015

Streets Ice Cream, Australia

Ah, ice cream.  One of my favorite things.  It should come as no surprise that when I visit another country, I get ridiculously excited to try out their ice cream treats.  And I don't actually mean trying all the fancy, high-end, artisan ice cream hand-crafted scoop-at-a-time using liquid nitrogen and all organic ingredients either (although, yes, last week I wrote about my favorite gelato in Sydney, Messina!)  No, I'm talking about the basic, classic, packaged ice cream treats you can get in any convenience store anywhere.  Which in Australia, is Streets.

Yes, Streets is basically just the Australian version of NestlĂ© ice cream, which, as you may recall from my reviews, I didn't ever really like.  More accurately, it is their version of Good Humor, as both are owned by Unilever, just like Heartbrand, which I reviewed after visiting Zurich.

Anyway, probably to most Australian adults, these aren't anything exciting.  But to me, they were something new to try, and, spoiler, some are actually quite good!
The Magical Ice Cream Freezer.
The office I was working in had ice cream freezers scattered about.  Nearly every day, they were filled with new treats.  The first time I visited Sydney, this really was the highlight of my day.  And back then, the variety was huge and the freezers never seemed to run out.  On my recent visit, the selection was less varied, and you had to time it perfectly in order to get one of the "good" treats, but still, it was quite exciting to have these freezers all over the office.

Magnum

Magnum is a line of ice cream bar, on a stick, covered in coating.  The classic flavor is just vanilla ice cream with milk chocolate coating, but like any successful product, a slew of other varieties are now available, with different flavors of ice cream (salted caramel, strawberry, chocolate), different coatings (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, with almonds, with bits of honeycomb, with bits of "vanilla pieces"), and assorted swirls (caramel, chocolate).  They are available in full size or miniature.

Magnums have been sold in other countries for years, but only came to the US in 2011.  Of course, I've never bothered purchase one here in the US, but, when I was in Australia, I tried many varieties.  I also tried a few in Zurich.  I didn't actually care for the ice cream component of any of them, it was never as creamy as I'd like, but the coatings were really quite good.  They need to leave the ice cream business and just make chocolate confections.
Strawberry White Crumble Magnum.
"Creamy strawberry flavoured ice cream covered in cracking white chocolate and crunchy vanilla pieces."

Now, I don’t care for strawberry ice cream in general, and this tasted a lot like strawberry flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast, aka, a bit fake.  The ice cream itself wasn't great either, not very creamy.

This sounds all negative.  And, I really didn't like the ice cream.  But ... the white chocolate coating was the perfect thickness, and was pleasantly sweet.  I really loved the crunch from the "crunchy vanilla pieces" mixed throughout.

Just the coating would make for a nice white chocolate confection.  I wish I could get that, and leave the ice cream behind.
Salted Caramel Magnum.
"Creamy vanilla with a salted caramel swirl, coated in cracking Magnum milk chocolate with a silver finish."

The silver finish was stunning.  Under the silver paint was a milk chocolate layer of the perfect thickness to give it a great snap as you bit into it.  They really do have the coating thickness nailed on these treats.
Salted Caramel: inside.
Inside was fairly creamy vanilla ice cream, with a salted caramel swirl throughout.  It was sweet, but I didn't really detect the promised salty aspect.  I didn't love it, but it was better than the strawberry ice cream.

Overall, this was fine, but not particularly interesting.
Ego Caramel Magnum.
“Premium creamy vanilla ice cream covered in two layers of thick cracking Magnum chocolate encasing a thick caramel sauce.”

Wow, I finally, finally found a Magnum that I really enjoyed!

Yes, it was the same basic vanilla ice cream inside that isn’t particularly remarkable, but it is what surrounded it that made it great.
Ego Caramel: Inside.
There were three layers of coating.  Each alone was fine, but together, they were a magic trifecta.

The outermost was a classic thick milk chocolate shell.  Inside was a thick layer of caramel, and finally a dark chocolate layer.

The layers were crunchy, so sweet, and just totally delicious.

Like with the strawberry white crumble, I would have even been happy eating just the coating.  In this case, I really think it would work, a 3 layer chocolate bar?  Totally.  The ice cream was totally unnecessary.
Honeycomb Crunch.
"Smooth and creamy honeycomb ice cream covered in a thick layer of Magnum cracking milk chocolate and crunchy honeycomb bits."

Ok, now this one I was super excited for.  I love honeycomb.  Why the US doesn't really have honeycomb I'll never understand.  But it shows up everywhere in Australia.  Apparently, even in the ice cream.
Honeycomb Crunch: Inside.
The honeycomb flavored ice cream was very, very sweet, but more interesting than the standard vanilla.  Still not very creamy though.

The milk chocolate shell had the perfect snap as always, but was even better  because it had crunchy bits of honeycomb inside.

This was solid, probably my second favorite flavor I tried, but, actually, too sweet for me overall.
Magnum White.
"Vanilla bean ice cream dipped in white chocolate."

I actually kinda enjoyed this, which is surprising given how simple it is.   Yes, just vanilla ice cream coated in white chocolate.  No extra fun elements to add crunch in the coating, no core of decadent caramel, just vanilla and white chocolate.

But I let it get nicely melty, and the ice cream was decently creamy.  The white chocolate was sweet.  I had it alongside a black coffee, and it was the perfect combination, almost like an affogado.  I'd do it again.

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Peppermint Magnum.

"Premium peppermint ice cream covered in thick cracking Magnum dark chocolate. "

I love minty things, but this was just basic green mint ice cream, again, not creamy.  The coating was decent dark chocolate.  Overall, not very interesting.

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Magnum Almond.

"Vanilla bean ice cream dipped in milk chocolate and almonds."

The plain vanilla ice cream never does it for me, and the milk chocolate shell was pretty boring.  The slivered almonds added crunch, but weren't enough to save this one for me.

Cornetto

Cornetto is the line of packaged ice cream cones.  As far as I can tell, they are just Australia's version of a Drumstick, which I've reviewed before.  I've also reviewed the fancier packaged Cornettos found in Zurich.

I only tried a few basic flavors in Australia, but in general, I thought they were better than their American counterparts, and the ice cream itself was better than inside the Magnums.
Classic: Vanilla & Choc Nut.
"Delicious vanilla ice cream with chocolate and nuts, crunchy wafer and of course the chocolatey tip!"

Yup, classic.

The vanilla ice cream was basic, but got nicely creamy as it melted.  The cone had a chocolate layer inside so it stayed crispy against the ice cream.  The nuts and chocolate on top seemed just like token offerings, not substantial enough to add much.

A very basic treat, but good enough for what it was.  Much better than a Drumstick, as the cone held up better.
Classic Supreme Chocolate
"A creamy mixture of milk and dark chocolate, topped with white chocolate, hazelnuts and meringue balls."

I liked this much more than the classic vanilla.

The chocolate ice cream was a decent chocolate flavor, decently creamy.  Much better than the ice cream inside the Mangums, but not remarkable.

The toppings were tasty though, I liked the crunch of the white chocolate and the nuts, although I didn't really notice the meringues.  Better than vanilla, but not particularly notable.

Other

I also tried a handful of other assorted treats.  I'll just group them all here together.  While the Cornetto and Magnum lines are the most extensive, I think these are more classics.  Or at least, I got that impression from my Australian friends.
Golden Gaytime.
"Toffee and vanilla-flavoured centre, dipped in a scrumptious chocolate coating and covered in crunchy biscuit pieces".

Ok, yes.  It is called a Golden Gaytime.  And the tagline is "It's hard to have a Gaytime on your own."  It a classic, been around since 1959.  It has staying power!

I've had a number of these over the years, but I never love them.  I almost love the crumble coating, but, it isn't actually "crunchy biscuit pieces", and always seems a bit soggy or mushy to me.  I want more crunch.  The chocolate layer isn't thick like a Magnum, so it pales in comparison. And the ice cream? Also not remarkable. The ice cream is clearly two different flavors, and one is vanilla, but the other is just sweet, and I wouldn't identify it as toffee.

Every time I have one of these it tends to make me grumpy. The coating is *almost* really tasty, but the toffee ice cream is just way too sweet.
Calippo Raspberry Pineapple.
"A juicy and tangy raspberry & pineapple refreshment."

One day, the ice cream freezer only had these.  They didn't look exciting, but, hey, I wanted something, so I grabbed one.  I had no idea what was going to be inside my tube.
Calippo Raspberry Pineapple: Inside.
It was basically a push-up pop.

The raspberry and pineapple were both quite strong flavors.  It was very sweet, but refreshing enough on a hot day, and it made me feel like a kid again.  They also come in lemon and cola lemonade flavors.
Banana Paddle Pop.
Ok, next up, the paddle pop.  These were always the last to go from the ice cream freezer.  Magnums and Cornettos disappeared fast, but, Paddle Pops were clearly the rejects.  And another classic, these have been around even longer than Golden Gaytimes, Paddle Pops were launched in
1953.

Available in chocolate, banana, and rainbow.

These are the most basic ice cream treat you can get, just an ice cream bar, on a stick.  So simple, but it sometimes just really hits the spot.

The ice cream is low fat, but it melts really nicely, and I thought it was the creamiest of all of their treats.  The banana flavor is nice, not super fake tasting, although it obviously is.  Really quite pleasant, although it isn't anything fancy.

The chocolate version is like our fudgicles, not something I ever really love, so I always went for the other flavors.
Rainbow Paddle Pop.
I'm not really sure what the different flavors of the rainbow paddle pop are supposed to be, but it is very similar to the banana version, just with a pink swirled color as well.  Again, just not very interesting.

Update Review: I tried one on my next visit as well.  It didn't get creamy and melty like I wanted it to, likely because it wasn't a hot day, and non-melty ice cream just isn't nearly as satisfying.  I really think I liked these at some point, but, it wasn't on either of these visits.
Pine-Lime Splice.
"First launched in the 1950s, Splice was the original fruit and vanilla split on a stick. For decades it has brought Australians 'the taste of summer' with its delicious range of tangy fruit products, all made with real fruit juice. The combination of creamy vanilla and refreshing fruit ice shell will delight your senses and take you away on a tropical escape."

I saved the best for last.  The Splice is the item I fell in love with on my first visit to Australia.  It is, hands down, still my favorite.  On this recent trip however, the ice cream fridge never contained any Splices, so, we had to go seek them out ourselves.  As you can tell, everyone was quite happy to get them!

So, the Splice.  Simple vanilla ice cream core, on a stick, coated in fruity ice.  Available in raspberry or "pine-lime".  Apparently that is a flavor that makes sense in Australia.  I think it means pineapple and lime?

I know this doesn't sound like it should be anything special.  But ... it is.  Seriously, the most perfect treat for a hot day.  The icy outside is sweet, yet refreshing.  The inside is smooth, creamy, and mellow.  It melts perfectly.  You have to eat it pretty fast on a hot or sunny day, but that is just part of the experience.  I love how the textures combine.

This reminds me of a treat I used to have at the local ice cream stand in my hometown, where they had Slush Puppies (aka, flavored icy drinks) and soft serve ice cream, and you could order a creation that was a Slush Puppy with vanilla ice cream swirled on top.  I always got this (blue raspberry flavored ice, vanilla ice cream), and loved it for the contrast of sweet ice and creamy ice cream, exactly like you have with a Splice.  Splices are also similar to Solero bars in many countries by Unilever, which I've reviewed before.

I love these things.  
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