History of the Choco Taco
Most of my memories of the fantastic fusion novelty ice cream treat known as the choco taco, come from my childhood. I remember the local ice cream man driving by the beach on hot summer days in Cape Cod at first encounter beach. I was having a discussion with my girlfriend/fellow taco enthusiast and somehow I brought up the Choco Taco. To my amazement she had never heard of it, being from Florida I figured maybe they weren’t sold in Miami?
From that conversation, my mission was clear go out and buy a pack at the local grocery store. I quickly realized that after visiting Shoprite and some other chains of stores the Choco Taco was well kind of rare. The Choco Taco comes from the makers of the Klondike bar, so the real question is, “What would you do for a Choco Taco?”
What is a Choco Taco?
A Choco Taco is a pretty simple novelty ice cream item, its an ice cream cone that has been reinvented; Waffle cone taco shell, peanuts, vanilla ice cream, and dipped in chocolate. The original novelty ice cream legend was created by Alan Drazen in 1983 in Philadelphia. Drazen started in the world of ice cream as a driver for Good Humor and later went on to management at Jack & Jill ice cream in 1974. Around the birth of the Choco Taco, America had a growing interest in tacos, many ice cream companies already had signature ice cream items, and Jack & Jill needed theirs, Alan’s idea of an ice cream taco made sense. Jack & Jill ice cream would later be acquired by Unilever, which of course in their portfolio contains the Klondike brand.
An ice cream taco has several advantages over its cone brethren:
- The taco ships easier, less likely to break.
- A cone when eaten doesn’t allow you to enjoy the whole thing each bite. With a cone your first bite is the topping, with a taco each bite has the toppings and shell in every bite.
Where can I find Choco Tacos?
Since it’s invention the Choco Taco has been distributed through several outlets, one of the most notable was Taco Bell, today Taco Bell no longer distributes the ice cream taco. Today the Choco Taco is sold under the Klondike brand, who is a brand among other ice cream manufactures like Good Humor served all under the parent company brand Unilever. The simple answer on where to find a Choco Taco is: some Walmarts, Targets, and you can also find them individually wrapped at some 7-11’s. I tried several grocery stores and chains in different towns throughout Northern, NJ. I learned that Choco Tacos could also be found in some Shoprites. Of the multiple Walmarts and Shoprite’s I looked in, I only found one that carried the rare ice cream taco, in a Walmart in Secaucus, NJ. There it was!
Are they hard to find?
Last I remember, as a kid I would get them from the ice cream truck and I also would get them from Blockbuster, along with a VHS tape of a James Bond movie, some sour patch straws, and maybe an N64 game rental (God that was living). I’m not going to lie I’m concerned I have to explain what a VHS tape is and what Blockbuster was. Also, I can’t wait until people collect VHS tapes and tell you “This is how movies were meant to be enjoyed” just wait…it’s the future like vinyl records are today. Anyway…from what I’ve seen, yes Choco Tacos are hard to find, most grocery stores that carry Klondike bars do not actually carry Choco Tacos. Finding a Choco Taco is a hit or miss, just because a retailer is listed to carry them, only a select few locations actually carry them. Also It seems like you’ll have better luck finding Choco Tacos in Northern States. In New York City for instance 7-11 is known to carry them.
Can you make them?
The finally question is can you make Choco Tacos? The answer is yes you can and if you’re interested we have our own recipe to share with you. The test kitchen over at Bon Apetit in New York City actually did a good amount of the R&D on how to make Choco Tacos right before the pandemic struck. We decided to simply/improve the recipe, our recipe uses an improved waffle batter that we worked on, made them without a waffle cone maker, and used items everyone has in their homes. We were left with a Choco Taco shell that stayed crispy unlike the original.