It’s scorching outside, and gamers are on the hunt for ways to beat the heat during this sweltering summer (especially after warnings from Nintendo and Valve about console overheating). Cold Stone has come to the rescue with their latest line of Nintendo-themed ice cream sundaes, inspired by Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Mario Party Superstars, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Being the dedicated journalist that I am, I felt compelled to give them a taste test. Now, let me make one thing clear: I’m no Anthony Bourdain wannabe. The only food item I’ve ever written about was Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappe, which took the internet by storm back in 2017 (much to the chagrin of the hardworking baristas). But five years later, I find myself delving into the world of ice cream once again, drawn in by two factors. First, we recently reviewed the delightful Kirby-flavored boba tea, which left me craving for more. Second, Nintendo just announced Kirby’s Dream Buffet, featuring an array of food-themed courses where multicolored Kirbys race against each other. And you can bet your bottom dollar that most of those courses are made up of desserts.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet won’t be released until later this summer, but Cold Stone’s Nintendo-themed ice cream flavors perfectly coincide with its announcement. So, last Friday night, I bought the ice cream cups and brought them home to savor over the weekend (as much as I adore ice cream, there was no way I could tackle three large cups in one sitting). Though they did keep me up a bit past my bedtime (more on that later), the ice cream flavors themselves were sweet treats that did justice to the games they were inspired by.
The Mighty Pink Puff
The star of the show is Kirby himself, with his eponymous flavor, The Mighty Pink Puff. It boasts traditional strawberry ice cream topped with real strawberries, drops of caramel syrup, and mini marshmallows – a combination that’s as sweet and fluffy as Kirby’s creators intended. Every spoonful of The Mighty Pink Puff transported me on a Warp Star ride to a strawberry ice cream mountain, where I slid down the slopes on a marshmallow sled, scooping up the caramel and strawberry-laden ice cream as I went. The smooth texture made it a heavenly ice cream experience, even for someone who isn’t particularly fond of strawberry ice cream.
The strawberries did a magnificent job of mimicking Kirby’s adorably rosy cheeks and red shoes, while the caramel and marshmallows perfectly captured the gooey, puffy essence of Kirby when he swallows massive items in Mouthful Mode. The flavor even pays homage to one of Kirby’s favorite indulgences – strawberry shortcake. All in all, The Mighty Pink Puff is a well-balanced delight, befitting of the pink puffball himself.
Superstar Sprinkle Blast
While Superstar Sprinkle Blast may not be as elaborate or whimsical as Peach’s Birthday Cake map from Mario Party Superstars, it captures the playful, carefree spirit of the game. Picture cake batter-flavored ice cream adorned with yellow vanilla cake crumbs, blue frosting, and a generous smattering of rainbow sprinkles.
As you can see in the photo below, the blue frosting may have suffered a bit while making its journey from the shop to my freezer overnight. Nevertheless, it still managed to taste like a classic ice cream cake from the neighborhood grocery store, despite its slightly topsy-turvy appearance.
Remember that PSA I mentioned earlier? Well, I didn’t manage to finish the entire Superstar Sprinkle Blast ice cream, but it was enough to jolt me awake at four in the morning, thanks to its sky-high sugar content. Just like the Unicorn Frappe had granted me heartburn the morning after indulging, this ice cream flavor triggered a bout of insomnia after just four hours of sleep. To spare you from a similar fate, I highly recommend enjoying this treat in a smaller cup during the day. But if you’re set on having it in the large cup, complete with the Mario Party Superstars banner, it’s best to share it with others, even with your Mario-loving kids (just be prepared for a potential sugar rush).
Our last flavor in the Nintendo ice cream lineup, but certainly not the least, is a tropical island dessert that has everything you could ever desire. Inspired by Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Island Getaway features chocolate ice cream (my personal favorite), dollops of whipped cream, fresh strawberries, and slices of ripe banana. I kept it in the freezer all weekend, as The Mighty Pink Puff and Superstar Sprinkle Blast had already led to some unwanted extra pounds. So, I had to exercise some restraint and wait until Monday night to dive into it.
I only allowed myself half a cup, just enough to get a taste of the flavor. Typically, desserts combining strawberries and bananas strike a perfect balance between the two flavors. However, in the case of Island Getaway, the banana flavor dominates, overpowering the chocolate ice cream and leaving little room for its red companion. The intensity of the banana caught me by surprise, as I had anticipated a more even distribution of all three components. Eventually, it dawned on me that the banana slices likely serve as a healthier alternative to balance out the chocolate ice cream (if only slightly). Among the three flavors, Island Getaway is the best option for health-conscious parents with kids in tow.
A Sweet Conclusion
The wise Anthony Bourdain once remarked, “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.” And with all three sundaes consumed, my body certainly felt like Super Nintendo World. They are a delightful fusion of sugar, spice, and all things nice about the games they pay homage to. While some gaming-themed food products rely on character shapes to evoke recognition (think Minecraft and Pokemon cereals), Cold Stone has done an exceptional job of distilling the essence of the games into irresistible flavors. Plus, when you’re done, you’ll have a few collectible cups (though a tad sticky) featuring game cover art to cherish.
Despite the slight bout of insomnia that followed, Cold Stone’s Nintendo ice cream flavors brought a smile to my face and helped me fend off the summer heat. Now, I can only hope that Cold Stone will someday treat Sonic the Hedgehog to his very own flavor, especially with Sonic Frontiers on the horizon. After all, our spiky blue friend deserves his fair share of frozen delights.
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