When we published the news that Heinz -- yes, the baked beans people -- had invented ice cream flavours based on their biggest sauces, we expected some "WTF" reactions, a few comments of "2020 has gone too far" and perhaps one joke about the online recipe making them "open sauce."
What actually happened was a veritable avalanche of horrified, disgusted and, yes, vaguely intrigued responses from all corners of the internet. Many of you implored us to try the new flavours, FOR SCIENCE. And who are we to refuse such a noble mission?
It started badly
Based on the publicity photos we'd been sent, we assumed the Heinz Creamz flavours came in little tubs like you get at the cinema or the theatre. You know, those cute little stripy pots with a wooden spatula masquerading as a spoon?
Well, it turns out the photos could really have done with a banana for scale. Because the pots are HUGE.
Sorry about the manky banana, I stole it from my housemate
They are LITRE tubs. To be clear, that's TWICE the size of a normal tub of Ben & Jerry's. There is SO MUCH ice cream here. I'm basically about to eat a litre of cold sauce. If I die, you'd better put something cool on my headstone.
But before we get to the eating, I must address something else.
Do not try to flush dry ice down your sink
The ice creams arrived in polystyrene boxes full of dry ice. There were three tubs: one each of Salad Creamz, Ketchup Creamz (sorbet) and BBQ Creamz.
Dry ice is a bit of a pain in the anus in terms of disposal. It's solid carbon dioxide so as it warms up, it releases a crapload of CO2, which is not something you want in the confined space of, say, a tiny London flat. ESPECIALLY if you happen to keep birds in said flat, which I do.
Long story short, in order to try to get rid of the dry ice which I was panicking would kill my pets with clouds of gas, in a moment of stupidity I ran the tap to melt it. And thus turned my sink into an open-air nightclub, with huge amounts of thick white vapour cascading down the cupboards onto the floor, freezing my toes.
It was as I hammered on my sleeping housemate's door, shouting "I'VE DONE SOMETHING BAD" as the sink ejected copious plumes of ectoplasm that I realised this ice cream tasting malarkey probably wasn't going to end well.
The aftermath. It was so much worse than this, but I was too busy flapping to take photos.
As I've now learnt from several very amused scientists on Twitter, you absolutely should not try to melt dry ice down your kitchen sink. Luckily, my landlady's pipes didn't crack this time, but that could have been bad.
I thought I'd be clever and try to identify which sauce was which by taste alone.
This turned out to be completely pointless because the Salad Creamz is cream-coloured, the BBQ Creamz is brown and the Ketchup Creamz is kinda pinkish. Also, they all taste exactly like their sauces.
This is not a good thing.
I was relatively hopeful about this one. I like Heinz Salad Cream, and thought the sweetness of the ice-cream would provide a nice counterpoint to the tang of the sauce (jeez, one tasting assignment and she thinks she's Heston Blumenthal).
I. Was. Wrong.
It's particularly cruel because the ice cream is a light cream colour and looks exactly like a really delicious clotted cream vanilla. Then, you take a bite and your tongue screams in confused pain as it processes thick, frozen Salad Cream.
That's exactly what it is. It's Salad Cream ice cream. I don't know what I expected but I hoped it would be more edible than this abomination.
I spat it out, and it didn't melt. At all. Because it's some kind of devil concoction made almost entirely of bloody Salad Cream.
To be honest, after the first spoonful, I had MAJOR misgivings about the whole experiment. I can eat pretty much anything -- I have been known to wolf down all manner of revolting confections if they were the only semi-sweet thing in the house. I was fairly confident I would eat the whole tub.
I couldn't even swallow a second spoonful. It's horrible. It has no smell, so there's no warning of what's about to assault your tastebuds. And it looks so good. It's an evil piece of devilry designed to trick the eyes, stomach, and soul.
DAMN YOU, HEINZ.
This one is even worse.
Firstly, it's a colour ice cream should never be: a sort of dusty, pock-marked orange-brown. The kind of colour I imagine the surface of Mars looks when you've just landed there with absolutely no hope of ever getting home again, and the WiFi satellite has disintegrated on impact. That kind of colour.
Secondly, it smells like BBQ sauce. Which means I know it's going to taste exactly like BBQ sauce.
Now, I love BBQ sauce, but as I learnt from an ill-fated uni experiment of putting hoi-sin sauce on penne pasta, just because you like two things, doesn't mean they go together. At all.
BBQ Creamz is exactly the same story. It's not sweet or tasty, it's literally thick BBQ sauce that is unnaturally cold and doesn't come with any ribs. Like the Salad Creamz, I think there's a heck of a lot of sauce in here, because it doesn't really melt like it should, and every spoonful has a weird slidey texture that makes you feel like you're just spooning actual sauce into your mouth.
Is it even safe to eat a LITRE OF SAUCE? I guess I'll be the first to find out.*
*ha ha no I won't I'm not eating this crap
There are two types of Ketchup Creamz: ice cream and sorbet. Thank the actual lord, they've given me the sorbet. This has a shot at being palatable. COME ON TOMATOES!
On opening the tub, this is less sorbet and more Slush Puppy. It's fairly liquidy, sloshing about in a way that reminds me of my own stomach ten minutes after eating the Salad Creamz.
I'm really, really hopeful for the taste of this one. It's just tomato and ice. How bad can it be?
So bad. It can be, and is, SO bad. The appealing pink hue and slushy texture fool you into thinking you're about to get a mouthful of delicious, refreshing raspberry sorbet. You taste the cold, you feel the ice, and then the TOMATO ACTUAL KETCHUP kicks in. Literal ketchup, like you've squirted loads of it into your mouth. No chips to temper its tangy 'mato-ness, nothing to sweeten the pill. Ketchup, and bits of ice.
I could, at a VERY LARGE PUSH, contemplate putting this in some kind of wanky deconstructed Bloody Mary, but only if it freezes considerably more solid than it did in my freezer (or indeed in a box of cursed dry ice).
It's horrible. I try to take a second spoonful and my whole body heaves in protest. That's a nope.
Heinz Creamz: the verdict
This is a crime against ice cream. Against mouths. Against sauce, even. Salad Cream is not supposed to come in one-litre tubs and be eaten in spoonfuls, dammit. Even in summer. Even in 2020!*
*I hope I don't come back to this in the Great Famine of 2021 and rue my ungrateful past self as I chew on a beetle
There is absolutely nothing redeeming about any of these flavours. I LOVE ice cream and I will gladly eat a whole tub of a flavour I don't like if it's the only thing available. But I couldn't even get past the second spoonful with these. They are wrong. And maybe it was the saucy three-way going on in my stomach but I felt pretty nauseous not long after eating them.
Did I mention that apart from the sorbet, which wouldn't solidify, this stuff doesn't melt? That. Is. Not. Normal.
Should I buy it?
You can't buy Heinz Creamz directly off the shelf -- you have to buy the DIY kit and make it at home. Which means you might blame yourself for how revolting it turns out -- trust me, if it's inedible, you did it exactly right.
The kits and recipes are available here, but before buying, ask yourself the following questions, and ONLY proceed if every answer is an emphatic yes.
- Do you really, really, REALLY love one of these sauces? Like, squirt it in your mouth, eat it on its own love it?
- Are you OK with the fact that it may not melt in your stomach because it's made almost entirely of sauce?
- Are you willing to be the world's first person to go into a Salad Cream coma?
Three yeses? Really? Alright, well, in that case -- no, it's still absolutely not worth it. I will never recover from tasting these hateful chimaeras and I refuse to condemn anyone else to the same fate. There aren't enough sick buckets in the world.