Today is a sad day for fans of novelty frozen desserts. Klondike announced they are discontinuing the production and sale of the Choco Taco. Invented in 1983, right here in Philadelphia by someone I used to call friend – Alan Drazen – the Choco Taco was the perfect combination of two of the world’s most beloved food items – chocolate and a taco!! How could something so simple, taste so delicious.
I’ve always been a fan of novelty ice cream. At one of my first jobs, I worked in Squirrel Hill at Isaly’s, a dairy/restaurant made famous for it’s Klondike Bar, the Skyscraper Cone, and it’s canned Chipped Ham. They enhanced their brand with an ode called I Shall Always Love You Sweetheart which helped people remember how to spell ISALY’S. While I would never dare to taste the chipped ham, a Klondike bar was a gift. Back then Klondike bars were a very local and regional treat for people in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. A simple vanilla squared ice cream covered in a thin layer of chocolate and packaged in a simple aluminum foil wrapper. This was one of our great treasures – back before national distribution and the purchase of great brands into large corporations seeking to expand their portfolios.
Eventually Isaly’s closed and the fortune of the Klondike Bar would lie in the hands of Good Humor/Unilever. Klondike began brand extension, enhanced flavors, and like all small brands eventually grew to lose the small town feel it once had from its start in Mansfield, Ohio.
But my love for novelty ice cream treats was resurrected when I moved to Philadelphia and began to work with the folks from a local vending company at various events I was managing. One of the senior executives there, Alan Drazen introduced me to many different ice cream treats, but at the top of the list was the Choco Taco. Immediately the Choco Taco rivaled the Klondike Bar for supremacy with my personal taste buds. It was like a taste explosion and reminded us of all that was once good in the world.
Now the Choco Taco will stop being produced. All the good things seem to be stripped from our hands by large corporations. Was there market research done on this topic? If there was, how did I not know about it? The Choco Taco will rise again – there is no question some budding entrepreneur will see the opportunity. But for now, the Choco Taco sits like a woodpecker in a petrified forest – just trying to keep busy and looking for opportunities.
On the Mt. Rushmore of frozen novelty desserts sit four items: The Klondike Bar, the Choco Taco, the Chipwich, and the Fudgsicle. You may disagree and have your own items. Perhaps the Pushup, Nutty Buddy, Bomb Pop, or plain old Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s okay – we don’t have to agree. However, I think we can all concur that today’s announcement of the demise of the Choco Taco is a sad day. Will we put our flags at half mast? Probably not. But we can shed a tear, light a candle, or just think fondly of where we were the first time we bit into our first Choco Taco.
Thank you for almost 40 years of deliciousness. Now when we all scream for ice cream, we won’t be screaming for the Choco Taco.
I too knew Alan very well and his Choco Taco creation. I cannot imagine why it is being retired but I suspect there is a reason valid or not.
Not a real chocolate guy, personally the Creamsicle gets my vote:)