The Washington Post
For kids, Choco Taco was a cool creation
It’s summer. You’re at the pool. You’ve been attempting handstands. You’ve been holding your breath competitively. You’ve been saying “polo!” and then dog-paddling (stealthily, furiously) away from the sound of your own voice. You’re hungry. You hear a tinny lullaby in the parking lot. The ice cream truck has arrived, and your stomach sends up a cable to your brain: CHOCO TACOS YESSSS.
Choco Taco, holy grail. With apologies to the Chipwich and the Creamsicle, only one item in the ice cream truck inventory can compete for your wet fistful of cash: red-white-and-blue Popsicles and Choco Tacos. As summer snacks go, the pop has a lot going for it on a hot day. Frosty, fruity, looks like a firework. The Choco Taco, meanwhile, is a chewy, chocolaty mess of peanuts, chocolate, ice cream and waffle cone. Tasty but not quite as refreshing. And yet.
And yet you’re running. NO RUNNING! You’re walking, briskly, over warm matted grass and scorching panels of exposed aggregate, in the direction of that low-fi siren song. Why the rush? Because you don’t want anyone in front of you to get the last Choco Taco. That is, if they’re not already gone.
While the kid version of you waits in line, let’s indulge in some
painfully adult blah-blah about what made the Choco Taco so beloved. And let’s keep our voices down so the kid version of you doesn’t overhear the news that prompted this reflection: Choco Tacos are being discontinued, and for the most adult reason imaginable: “an unprecedented spike in demand across our portfolio,” according to Klondike’s parent company, forcing “very tough decisions to ensure availability of our full portfolio nationwide.”
The Choco Taco was the answer to a simple question: What if ice cream was tacos? That kind of question makes perfect sense to a kid, and it must have been validating to think that some enlightened grown-ups at the food factory (or whatever) saw fit to answer it.
What’s more, the answer made sense. The Choco Taco was a mash-up that didn’t read as a gimmick. Nor was its appeal superficial, like some of the other items pictured on the side of the ice cream truck. Popsicles made to resemble beloved cartoon characters? Look, let’s not get into it; I’m not here to besmirch any other summer snacks. Suffice it to say Choco Taco wasn’t pretending to be something it wasn’t. It looked like what it was: a choco(late) taco.
The inventor of the Choco Taco was reportedly a man in his 30s, and he explained his thinking in a 2016 interview with Eater: “When you eat a sugar cone, you generally eat the nuts, chocolate and ice cream on the top, and then when you get to the cone, you’re [only] eating ice cream and cone,” said Alan Drazen. “With the Choco Taco you’re getting the ice cream, cone, nuts and chocolate with just about every bite.” Also: “Mexican food was the fastestgrowing segment of the food industry, and the taco was the most recognizable shape.”
All that makes sense, in an adult kind of way, but nothing essential gets lost when you translate to kid logic: “Tacos = awesome, ice cream = awesome, both = double awesome???!!” Or, if you’d like: CHOCO TACOS YESSSS.
There’s no need to make this more complicated now than it was then. Kid You knew better than to ask deep questions about something as self-evident as the Choco Taco. What if ice cream was tacos? Asked and answered. The only important question after that was: When you get to the front of the line, are there any left?
Sadly, we now have an answer to that, too.