Saturday, June 16, 2012

Challenge: Cledor Cheese Cake vs Lotte Corn Ice

Christmas challenges Memorial Day in this unconventional ice cream clash. 

The mottled red, gold and bronze packaging of Cledor's Cheese Cake bar, which can be found at Family Mart for 1,500 won, suggests a sensuous and festive treat. Once unwrapped, this ice cream does not disappoint. Inside the package, seated on a cardboard tray, lies 210 calories of rich, silky ice cream ribboned with ambiguously berry flavored sauce and wrapped in a berry, white chocolate shell. On the other hand, it does not contain the small chunks of cheesecake that you can see in the picture on the wrapper. Nevertheless, despite being frozen, this bar is warm and comforting like sitting before a quiet fire on a cold winter's day while wrapped in a blanket and sipping hot chocolate. Also like the holiday season, with its promises of a happy new year, Cledor prints a "fortune" on the bottom of the cardboard tray — albeit a cryptic one: "You call first. He is waiting for you."

Unfortunately, being warm and festive is of no help to the Cledor Cheese Cake bar during the Korean summer heat. When it is 90 degrees fahrenheit outside, the humidity level is approaching 100 percent and people are sweating through their shirts in five minutes, refreshment is what most crave -- not cozy fires and cocoa. And while unconventional, Lotte's Corn Ice Bar (~1,500 won) is truly refreshing. Encased in a soft, pale-yellow, cone that is shaped like a cob of corn, this peculiar ice cream would not look out of place at a barbecue. It wouldn't taste out of place either because the ice cream on the inside tastes genuinely like sweet corn, except the flavor is milder and creamy. The corn effect is further enhanced by crunchy, flavorless flakes of chocolate and frozen corn kernels. Plus it is only 160 calories. Oddly enough, because it tastes like real corn, it has the refreshing crispness of real corn too, making it perfect for summer.

Both ice cream bars are delicious in their own right. However, given the choice of one or the other under the current weather conditions, Lotte's Corn Ice is preferable. 

(Editor's notes: 1) Special thanks to Sujin Jeong for translating the Cledor fortune and to Junsik Park for research assistance. 2) Corn Ice is notoriously hard to find. One month after buying the bar for this story, we scoured six different supermarkets, three Family Marts, two private mini-marts and a small grocery to find a second bar but met no success.)

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