Unless you've never heard of Astronaut Ice Cream before, today's post is probably nothing new to you. But ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by the concept of freeze-dried ice cream and the fact that it maintains it's flavor. There's a science center in Jersey City, Liberty Science Center, where I first found these packs of ice cream. The science center is great and was home to many school field trips, but the highlight was always the conclusion. By the end of any trip, we visited the Liberty Science Center Store and while some kids were looking at rubber bugs and star photos, I was spending everything I brought with me on Astronaut Ice Cream. Sure, I could have purchased real ice cream, but where's the fun in that? This is a freeze-dried science experiment!
Over the years, Astronaut Ice Cream has become more and more popular and is now available in multiple stores. Personally, I've found them at Hot Topic and Toys R Us. In this case, I found them and Michael's Craft Store. Here's a bit of a tip, though. Some retail outlets are jacking up the price. Toys R Us in Times Square was charging over $6 a pack. Hot Topic charges $5 and Michael's, the most reasonable, was only $3.99. But if you want to try Astronaut Ice Cream and don't mind waiting a bit, just go to Astronauticecreamshop.com and find it for less than $3.00!!
Here's the freeze-dried Astronaut Ice Cream Sandwich. I'll admit, it doesn't look all that great, but it's amazing. When I was a kid, these sandwiches were mostly intact, long and rectangular. For whatever reason, they changed these to be circular ice cream sandwiches. But it doesn't matter, it's all about flavor and this is a childhood favorite. Personally, the cookie part is better than the ice cream because it's so different. It's unlike any chocolate cookie or wafer you'll find anywhere else. It has the flavor of a real ice cream sandwich, but the texture of an Oreo cookie. That's what's so cool about these freeze-dried packets.
The first pack pictured is similar to the ones I remember from the 90s, but this Alien Ice Cream is brand spankin' new! This immediately caught my eye because of the cool imagery, graphics, and that tiny neapolitan illustration. Plus, this is the first time I've ever seen freeze-dried Astronaut Ice Cream be called something else. Alien Ice Cream sounds so much cooler. Yeah, Astronauts are awesome. I'd love to travel through space. But an Alien lives in space and has all sorts of super powers. If this is what they're eating, I want to be abducted asap.
I've had the Astronaut Neapolitan Ice Cream a good 20-25 times in my life, so I was hoping that Alien Neapolitan Ice Cream would be different, but it's the same thing. In fact, after further review of the package, this ice cream is produced by the same, and only company, that releases Astronaut Ice Cream. I guess they agree with the theory that kids, and adults with a kids' mentality, will be more attracted to a cartoon alien than a hovering astronaut. They were right! But I can't say that they truly got me because I was going to buy two packs, anyway. There's no way I can walk away with only one flavor, even when the prices are too high.
Because these packs are so delicious, it's hard for me to pick a favorite. I can tell you that, with the neapolitan variety, my favorite of the three parts is chocolate. I always try to save that for last. I'd put strawberry in second with vanilla a close third. They're all soo good and, surprisingly, very different from the ice cream found in the sandwich. It has a different texture and density. I remember how hard the sandwiches were to eat as a kid. When intact, they're a bit dangerous on the teeth. But when they're all broken up like this, the ice cream practically dissolves in your mouth. I love it.
While these packs are great, you're probably not all that interested if you've ever tried them before. Fair enough. So, to create a glimmer of excitement, I created a freeze-dried neapolitan ice cream sandwich. Whattya think about that? It's a beauty. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream stacked between two ice cream sandwich cookies. It makes for a great picture, but the flavor is nothing that you wouldn't expect. I just wanted to do something I never did with Astronaut Ice Cream, before. Behold, the Neapoliwhich!
By the way, if you haven't had Astronaut (or Alien) Ice Cream before, then be aware that they can be messy. Maybe "dusty" is a better word. As soon as you open the wrapper, the stray crumbs seem to scatter like powdery ice cream dust balls. If that description makes any sense.
One thing I regret about this review is that there was supposed to be three flavors included. For the first time ever, I found a Mint Chip Astronaut Ice Cream flavor at Michael's, but I ate it before I ever found time to take pictures. Without that, there's no reason to bother reviewing something you can't see. I blame myself for being a glutton, but I couldn't wait to try a brand new flavor. If you're interested, you can find them here along with a never-before tried flavor, Chocolate Chocolate Chip. When I find and try that one, maybe I'll update The Holidaze with a review of both. You will probably care for that about as much as you did for this post, but there's only so much I can talk about before we hit the Halloween season :)