Product Type: Walls Dessert / Yoghurts
Newest Review: ... Viennetta is shaped in a oblong and comprises of vanilla ice cream which has layers of chocolate running through it. The Viennetta comes... more
Num num num (or 7 inches of pleasure)
Member Name: vanillaman
Advantages: Cheap, aesthetically pleasing (if you don't do minimalism), tastes lovely, not very high calorie
Out foraging for edible bargains to bring home to the family recently I stumbled upon a culinary blast from the past, Walls Viennetta (made by Unilever). To my surprise it was priced in the co-op at a mere pound, I'm having some of that I thought, anticipating smiling faces and a pat on the back from the missus, but with a nagging subconscious suspicion that I was more likely to get turned up noses and mockery for falling pray to nostalgia. I was pleasantly surprised so find the family were delighted.
I don't think Vienetta has changed much in the 25 years since I last regularly ate it. The box seems pretty much the same but a creamy colour and blue rather than the darker box I remember from my youth. The ice-cream itself still sits in the same little brown plastic tray, and papery/plasticy bag surrounding it in the box. There is no fancy trick to opening the box, not that we've discovered anyway, just rip in.
Viennetta also comes in a mint version, which is I can vouch for delicious. According to the Viennetta web site since 2007 these are the only two flavours still available, but "now with more chocolate and bigger waves". There have been special 'editions' and a wider range in the past. The one I bought on this occasion was vanilla and is the one I will be talking about in this review.
The block of ice-cream is still beautifully presented (containing 650mls/320grms) with undulating soft waves of alluring creamy looking ice cream forming the décor along the sides of the block. I can almost hear the voices in my head whisper 'come to me my pretty'. The effect is further enhanced by what appears to be chocolate crumbs and dust powdering the edges, and the whole is layered with crispy wafers of milk chocolate finished with a strip of thin chocolate down the centre which fades out to freckles of chocolate then crisp white wavy edging. For such a reasonably priced treat that will feed one to 6 people (any more than 6 and you are just being mean, or obsessive about calories) I think it is very attractive, and though some may think it looks tacky and smacks of the 'ambassador you are spoiling us with this tat' pretentiousness, I just think it looks lovely and appetising.
The taste of this I must admit isn't on a par with the best dairy ice-cream I have tasted, but then it isn't touted as such. The ice-cream does have creaminess as you would expect, similar to the texture of Mr Whippy but smoother somehow. The chocolate does taste like real chocolate whether it is or not (in the ingredients list on the box the chocolate is described as "crisp chocolate flavoured layers"), is satisfyingly crisp when you bite or cut into it, but melts in your mouth beautifully. This dessert also in my opinion also manages to avoid falling into the trap of being overly sweet and sickly that many cheaper desserts do, and the flavours are nicely balanced. With Viennetta I think the sum is greater than its parts.
The story of Viennetta's creation says that Kevin Hillman (who I can only assume is the creator of Viennetta?) got the idea from a cake he saw in cookery book he gave his wife for Christmas - there's a divorce waiting to happen right there, I'd be eating the book for Christmas lunch if I gave that to my missus as a gift (unless specifically requested, she's asked for horror books, books on cats, and sci-fi, so far no luck with the cookery books). The Viennetta is meant to be a gateaux constructed entirely from ice cream, and ice cream cake. Whatever the design is based on I think it works, Someone said we eat with our eyes, and I think that trick has certainly worked to woo me with this product.
At 120 calories per 100m or 49gms - and you could get away with a portion size of 49gms ish if you were more restrained than I - I think the calorie count of this as a desert or treat is pretty good. All in all a cheap tasty treat or desert for the family, and friends. You wouldn't win any culinary awards serving this but I'm sure you'd win a few smiles, and that's what really matters.
Summary: A delicious trip down memory lane for me, a new icy pleasure for my kids
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