Mental Floss

Viennetta—That Fancy Ice Cream Cake From the ’90s—Is Coming Back to Stores After 20 Years

Ellen Gutoskey
An aerial shot of every Millennial's favorite fancy treat.
An aerial shot of every Millennial's favorite fancy treat. / cyclonebot, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Last year, as the nation celebrated the return of Necco Wafers and Dunkaroos, fans of Viennetta watched and waited. Now, it’s finally their turn to rejoice. According to The Takeout, the zeitgeisty ice cream cake of the ’90s is headed back to U.S. shelves.

The layered loaf of ice cream, chocolate, and cake originated in the UK in 1982 and made its way to America a few years later. Revenue from ice cream trucks and carts was plummeting, and Good Humor was looking for ways to fill the void. Not only did Viennetta’s name sound vaguely European, but eating it required a plate and utensil; in other words, the product would surely appeal to yuppies and all their dinner party guests. For Good Humor, this was an unfamiliar but promising demographic.

“That’s right. This upscale, ice cream dessert is brought to you by the same company that invented ice cream on a stick in the 1920s,” Newsday reported in 1987.

Worth a visit to the ice cream aisle on your next grocery run.
Worth a visit to the ice cream aisle on your next grocery run. / PRNewsfoto/Unilever

Viennetta turned out to be a hit among the middle class, too, and its popularity continued well into the 1990s. Soon after Good Humor’s parent company, Unilever, acquired Breyers in 1993, the classy confection was rebranded as a Breyers product. Its status as a symbol of domestic sophistication didn’t waver; new commercials featured the delicate clink of scalloped dessert spoons just audible over a jazzy background track.

Alas, like JNCO jeans and so many other ill-fated ’90s fads, Viennetta barely made it to the 21st century (in the U.S., at least—the cake wasn’t discontinued in the UK). But many Millennials never forgot the luxury of cracking through each thin chocolate layer of a Viennetta slice, and they’ll surely cherish the chance to experience it again. According to TODAY, the cake will be sold in grocery stores beginning this month.

[h/t The Takeout]