Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Rincle Petit Cone Ice
If the the Keebler elves were to buy a box of ice cream cones to keep around in their freezers for those days when they had a hankering for ice cream (though really, with all of those Keebler cookies, they don't need more sweets), Rincle cones would certainly fit the bill. I wonder if Glico designed these for diet-conscious adults or small children whose parents grudgingly give them sweet summer treats. Since this is classified as a "family pack" on Glico's site, I'm guessing it is for kids. One thing is for sure, at about about 10 cm (4") in length and 3 cm (1.2") in diameter, they aren't for those with big appetites.
I found these mini cones at a local supermarket and was drawn to the fact that each flavor has 50 calories or less per cone. I knew even before I opened up the box that they were going to be small. The only question was going to be how small. Note that they have been explicitly designed to be fancy-looking and to mimic the sort of ornate cone you might get at some tony ice cream parlor. The appearance of the cones was definitely a priority when Glico designed them as it is mentioned in their PR for this product.
The flavors included are strawberry, mango and double chocolate and vanilla, and double chocolate and cookie. There are 16 cones, 4 of each flavor, in one box and they cost about 200 yen (about $2), depending on whether or not you can find them on sale. Each cone is wrapped in a paper wrapper which is a little hard to remove despite a handy tab. This is because the paper is lined with plastic which stretches. When you pull on the tab, the paper only pulls off around the center and you're stuck trying to open the top. I'm guessing they lined the paper with plastic to try and stop the cones from getting stale or soggy. Frankly, this did not work. When I first bought this box, the cones were moderately crispy, but by the time I got through with half of them, they were on the softer side.
The ice milk is creamy and has a very satisfying texture. The cones, likewise, are not bad, though they don't have much in the way of flavor. They're shaped like waffle cones, but are actually fairly good quality cake cones. Each cone probably has between 2 and 3 tablespoons of ice milk in it. There's so little ice milk at the top of the cone that you'd be hard-pressed to just lick it. If you're lucky, the small blob won't dislodge on the first lick, but really the best you can hope for is to not gobble the ice milk on top in one bite.
Here are my impressions of each flavor:
The mango portion of this is really just a few little decorative dabs at the top. The rest is good, creamy and satisfyingly sweet vanilla. If you want a strong mango experience, you'll want to give this a pass, but it's certainly quite good as a vanilla cone. This cone was 40 calories.
double chocolate with cookie:
The chocolate portion is pretty much confined to the dabs on top. I couldn't detect the cookie part much at all, though it does add a grainy textural component. You can taste the chocolate a bit, but it's pretty weak. The cone has a bit of chocolate in it as well, but it's so subdued that it barely registered. At 48 calories, this cone is the most fattening of the bunch. It's also the sweetest and my least favorite.
I have to be honest and say that I'm not a fan of strawberry ice cream, but this was good. The strawberry flavor wasn't too intense or fake. My husband, who does like strawberry ice cream, enjoyed this quite a lot. It's also the low calorie winner of the bunch at 38 calories.
vanilla & double chocolate:
This one had the same cone as the cookie one, and the highest amount of chocolate. The top is a nice bittersweet crispy bit and the chocolate ice cream is flavorful and nicely sweet. It was my favorite of the bunch, but there are really no losers. It is 43 calories. Incidentally, I have no idea why this is called "vanilla & double chocolate" since there is nothing vanilla in it. It was also labeled as the "cookie" cone. I think someone just made mistakes on the labels and swapped them in some cases.
Depending on what kind of eater you are and how fussy you are about ice cream rather than ice milk, this is either a wonderful package of portion-controlled ice cream cones, or too little on the portion front. For me, this was great because I tend to want something sweet after a meal, but hate the idea of having a full dessert to satisfy that craving. Since the quality of the ice milk is so good and the sweetness level just about perfect, I was really pleased with these despite the tiny amounts. I'd recommend these for people who occasionally want a few spoonfuls of ice cream, but not for those who aren't satisfied with anything less than a full scoop when they get an ice cream (or in this case, ice milk) craving.
I should also note that the last two cones sat in my freezer for over a month before I got to them and there was quality degradation. The ice cream seemed to have seen a little crystallization from the freezer door being opened and closed and the cones got quite soft. I'd recommend finishing them off quickly, or putting them near the back of the freezer in a freezer quality Ziploc bag to protect them from temperature fluctuations and going stale. Clearly, the paper wrappers aren't going to do enough to keep air out of them.