Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Liquid Terminator Water Ice?

Don't judge my badly chipped polish too harshly!
Unicorn Water Ice  - Rita's Italian Ice
The foodie fascination with unicorn-everything has been going strong for about two years now. (Although there has recently been a notable detour through mermaids.) And I get it, unicorns are fun, they're colorful, they're magical, but...they don't taste like anything.
We all know unicorns do not exist, and the concept of them isn't associated with any particular flavor or food imagery, so what classifies something as "unicorn" flavored? Well, according to Starbucks (whom I blame for all of this), unicorns taste like mango, sour blue raspberry, and immediate regret. Project 7 thinks unicorns taste like tropical fruit. Which pretty much concludes why foray into unicorn-flavored territory. Until now. So, what is Rita's take?
Rita's Italian Ice released a new unicorn themed ice with absolutely no flavor description whatsoever. All we get are images of it, in all it's purple glory, mixed with custard and topped with edible glitter (which apparently costs extra.) I've never been big on unicorns, that's more my sister's thing, but I do love a mystery. So, the two of us jumped in the car, drove to Rita's, waded through what looked like a celebratory post-soccer-game crowd of children and snapped ourselves some unicorn ice.
I opted for the plain ol' Italian ice variety, since I wanted whatever "unicorn" flavoring there was to be bold, front and center. My first impression? It's like.. gray? 
The images make it seem like a soft lavender color, but in real life it's a cool-toned gray with a silver pearlescent shimmer. The shimmer effect wasn't played up in the advertising, which is a missed opportunity, because it's really freaking cool, and in retrospect, it looks a lot like Viniq, a boozy beverage with a similar gimmick. (Which might be discontinued?) 

The overall gray color isn't appetizing, it's like the gray stuff in Beauty and The Beast, or the liquid left in the bottom of your snow cone, but the shimmery liquid is so stunning. I kept messing with it. It reminds me of Alex Mac, or Terminator, or Unicorn Blood from Harry Potter. 
How does it taste? Like strawberries and cream mixed with cotton candy. My sister, who's first job was at a Rita's, thinks it's a mixture of their classic cotton candy flavoring (which is blue) with Starburst strawberry ice (which is pink) giving us this vaguely purple concoction, and taste-wise, that sounds about right. The strawberry flavoring is a bit artificial, and reminds me of the pastel pink strawberry flavored pudding cups I had as a kid, but there is a very sweet cotton candy water ice finish that you just can't ignore. 
As gimmicky as a "unicorn-flavored" water ice can be, this stuff actually tastes really good. I think the flavoring would be weakened in all the Gelati variations, so if you are going to give this a try I would suggest sticking with the classic ice-version, but that's just me. 
Rita's "unicorn" ice will be served until June 9th, so be sure to run out and give it a try before it disappears like my beloved Pistachio cream ice. (RIP) Unicorn-obsessed or not, it's a pretty good flavor, and the shimmer aspect alone is enough to make me come back for more. 
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