A Rant: No Choco Taco, no peace

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/31/2022 12:50:35 AM
Modified: 7/31/2022 12:50:27 AM

What more are they going to take from us?

That was my first thought after hearing the news that Klondike decided to discontinue its Choco Taco, a beloved staple of many Millennial, Gen X and (I hope) Gen Z childhoods.

To recap: The Choco Taco is — or was — a delightful mix of vanilla ice cream, peanuts and fudge in a taco-shaped waffle cone dipped in chocolate. It was, in a word, perfection.

Introduced in 1983, it became a staple in ice cream trucks and at snack stands. In my childhood, it was one of the more expensive ice cream offerings at the local lake where I learned to swim; it was second only to mozzarella sticks when I got to choose a treat. Later, they were widely available in the dining halls on my college campus and were the perfect late-night snack.

I bought them almost exclusively from gas stations in the summer. It never occurred to me as an adult to buy a box at the grocery store.

That’s where my heartache truly begins. There are not many ice cream trucks to come by in the Upper Valley. My days of hanging out at lakes on summer weekdays and standing in line for a prepackaged, mass-produced ice cream treat are decades in the past. Same with college dining halls. Gas station ice cream coolers were my only hope for recovering that bit of joy.

I am well aware of the vast — and superior — local ice cream options in the Upper Valley. I am among those who eagerly await Dairy Twirl’s opening day in Lebanon. I mourned the loss of the Whippi Dip in Fairlee. I know Choco Tacos are inferior in objective ice cream standards, and I don’t care.

I got Choco Tacos from convenience stores for a reason: the convenience. Better frozen treats are available with a pilgrimage to an ice cream stand, the Choco Taco was there, in a gas station freezer, reliable and simple.

Better ice cream treats are also available at home, for those who have skill and hate convenience. Choco Taco recipes abound on the internet since the news broke last week. I’m sure they’re delightful for people with the talent or desire to bake with ice cream.

I don’t want to learn a new skill. I just want my Choco Taco.

In typical social media fashion, those who don’t care about Choco Tacos are asking what the big deal is. Even those who like them are questioning if this is an outsize reaction.

My answer? Of course it is. The Choco Taco’s demise has very little impact on my life. In truth, I’m just as likely to grab a frozen Snickers bar at a gas station as I was a Choco Taco.

But the backlash is about more than waffle cone and chocolate. It comes from having a piece of nostalgia ripped away.

Even if Klondike gets its act together and reissues the Choco Taco, it won’t feel the same. Like many ’90s reboots pandering to the generation that grew up with them (sorry Disney but Girl Meets World doesn’t come close to Boy Meets World) once something becomes a reissue, part of that magic is gone.

But underpinning the backlash might also be the timing. It feels good to have irrational anger about something so trivial. So many things that keep us up at night that aren’t: student loans, climate change, women’s rights, “Is that a ghost moving around in the dark or just a cat?” First-world problems are a relief.

We will move on from this. We will heal. The memes are already dying down after last week’s ice-cold catharsis.

I will move on from this, like everyone else on the internet who has probably moved on by now.

But right now it feels good to sit and stew and be bitter about the Choco Taco’s demise. At least until the pain melts away.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

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