Product: PLOMBO Ice Cream in Waffle Cup
Purchased at: Saar’s Marketplace (Lakewood)
Price: 99 cents each
1. Ice cream product manufactured in Daugavpils Latvia, a Baltic country and former USSR republic. Available in five different flavors: (vanilla cream with chocolate chunks in waffle cup, vanilla cream with walnuts and caramel in waffle cup, vanilla cream in waffle cup, chocolate cream in waffle cup, vanilla cream with raisins in waffle cup)
2. Uncle character on popular family sitcom, frequently seen wearing wifebeater, boxer shorts and a look of confusion. Constantly causing general mayhem and wackiness.
Uncle Plombo relieves himself in a Ming Dynasty era vase.
Mom and Dad in unison: “Oh that Uncle Plombo!”
3. Slang (verb): Taught a lesson (the hard way), to lose humiliatingly.
In response to a friend losing at an online MMMORG: “YOU JUST GOT PLOMBO’D!”
To be honest, I bought this product solely because it originates from Latvia. To those who do not know me, I happen to be half-Latvian. Unfortunately, I have never been to Latvia (yet) so I figured this product may help me to “connect with my roots”.
Ben commented on the dated packaging when I first showed it to him. I’ve always heard the Eastern Europe trends are ten years behind compared to ours, so I feel the packaging is entirely appropriate. Hopefully they weren’t affected too badly by the Y2K bug, but they’ll be getting iPods soon so that’s encouraging.
My dad tried one of these cones a couple weeks ago when I mentioned there was a freezer at Saar’s overflowing with them. Interested, he selected one of the “vanilla cream with chocolate chunks” flavors. Sadly, due to some printing error, confusion or just plain laziness, there were no chocolate chunks to be found in his “soggy” cone (his words, not mine). He mentioned that while the ice cream did taste good, the cone itself was pretty pathetic to look at and that the price should have been something like 4-5 cones/$1 instead of 99 cents each.
I picked up the three flavors that were available at Saar’s: plain vanilla, vanilla with chocolate chunks and vanilla with walnuts and caramel. I admit I was a bit nervous since the product is not at all visible through the packaging.
My dad was right – the cone is really not that impressive. The ice cream barely comes above the top edge of the cone. Ah well, looks aren’t everything. I can excuse it since it had to make a cross-country journey to get here. After my first bite (soggy cone included, could be that way because of the potato starch listed in the ingredients?), something was a little off. Yes, it was creamy and sweet, but definitely a more “artificial” flavor compared to your standard Breyers or Dreyers. And that’s when we noticed “vegetable fat” as one of the ingredients (second one, in fact) in the “ice cream”, no cream to be found. Also, as you can see with our truly scientific dissections in the photos, there’s really not much in the way of pieces of chocolate or “caramel walnuts” either.
These aren’t terrible if you’re looking to satisfy an ice cream craving, but take note it’s going to be more like a pseudo-McDonald’s soft serve than a gourmet treat. At 99 cents, you might as well invest that towards some Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s.
(Ice cream ingredients, for reference: water, vegetable fat, sugar, skim milk powder, dextrose. Waffle cup: flour, potato starch, eggs, vegetable oil, salt, baking soda. Yum!)
Ben’s Take: A popular trend in the American food industry has been to use fillers and substitutes for some ingredients. Some of these “false” products such as fake beef and fake maple syrup have caused quite the stir, while other fake food products, particularly various brands of Kraft cheese products that masquerade around as real cheese (Not that Taco Bell beef products aren’t part of many American’s diets, but that’s a discussion for another day). The fine people of Latvia, wanting to build their own identity have created their own fake food product.
Plombo ice cream is made with 100 percent pure skim milk powder, vegetable fat, and artificial butter flavor. It comes with loaded in a cake style cone that is only loaded to the top of the cone. That’s pretty different from how I’ve grown up with ice cream, you know with the scoops piled high over the brim of the cone, covered in sprinkles, and crushed chocolate candies… No wonder I have love handles. I really have no issue with the fact that this Latvian import isn’t exactly real ice cream, in fact I kind of like its vague artificial flavoring. It kind of tastes like how I would image ice cream made in Eastern Europe would taste. You know, with old machine gun factory cosmoline vats converted into vegetable oil holding tanks for the industrial sized soft serve machines to load up the cones. Yeah that’s what this ice cream reminds me of, and I rather like it.
Who needs FDA approval when you’ve got Plombo’s machine gun ice cream? Unfortunately, the chocolate flavor was light on the chocolate chips and the cone portion of all of the flavors was extra soggy. I mean, its what I expected from a cake cone frozen, shipped from Eastern Europe to the Western Washington, and then left in a grocery freezer for a few weeks. If you’re interested in one of these, just throw the cone away. It just peels right off and you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
The caramel flavor had all caramel hands on deck when I tasted it. Its flavor was definitely there but didn’t overwhelm the subtle taste of AK-47, or the vanilla. It was easily my favorite flavor out of the three flavors we tried (The vanilla was plain, the chocolate was like the vanilla with a few chocolate pieces waved in its general direction) and if I was presented with another opportunity to eat it I probably would, though I definitely wouldn’t pay a buck for another one.
Overall the Plombo ice cream cones were pretty underwhelming. I liked them well enough but the beyond the vague taste of artificial butter, vegetable oil, and T-38s I just can’t figure out a good reason why anyone would spend a whole buck on one of these guys. I mean for a buck at a discount grocery you can buy a freaking tub of non-MiG flavored ice cream, and you might actually get your chocolate chips. For the listed price, I’d pass on these guys.