Solving the Mystery of the Missing Vienetta

Several years ago, I had a frozen ice cream dessert that I simply can’t forget. It was a lovely layering of super-thin chocolate and soft vanilla ice cream, luscious and decadent. Surprisingly, I didn’t encounter this memorable dessert at a fancy restaurant; it was readily available at my local grocery store.

Then all of a sudden and without warning, it vanished. My local grocery store no longer carried it and neither I nor my husband could find it at any other store. We tried. Man, we tried. The problem was (or so I thought) that I simply couldn’t remember the name of the dessert. Without that bit of information, it was exceedingly difficult to explain what I was looking for to anyone else. After a year or so I gave up. But every so often, and for the next several years, I would check the frozen section hoping to spot something that looked like what I remembered.

Then I happened to mention it in conversation with my folks around the dinner table on New Year’s Eve. My mom instantly knew what I was talking about. She’d loved the dessert too and had also noticed it’s sudden disappearance. She thought about it carefully and then said, “It was a Vienna-something”. That was enough for my husband to do a Google search and discover the name that had eluded us for years:

Breyers Vienetta.

Heaven on earth.

Once I’d had my memory jogged, it was a cinch to find more information online. I still remember this commercial for Vienetta:

Apparently Vienetta is still available in Europe, distributed by Unilever, and quite popular. But for some strange reason still unknown to me, it was discontinued in the United States, despite the fact that it seems I was not the only person who still dreams of this dessert. At least I am not alone in wishing this was still available in the U.S. I would not be surprised if it was all due to some kind of legal problem regarding a U.S. patent or some such.

At least the production video is still available on YouTube. It makes me wonder how difficult it would be to create something like this at home.

Ah, Vienetta. How I miss thee.

Update (April 20, 2010):

This has been, hands-down, one of the most popular blog posts I’ve ever written (and that includes thousands of entries on previous blogs over the last decade). Obviously I’m in good company – there’s a LOT of you out there that miss this lovely dessert.

What could be more maddening than remembering this, craving it and discovering it had been discontinued? Finding out that it was brought back, for a limited time and that I missed it.

Yup, that’s right. It was back. Well …  sort of. And now it’s gone again.

Apparently Unilever brought out a “Viennetta” branded dessert for the 2008/2009 winter holidays in the United States. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the product was back off the shelves in February of 2009, which explains why my searches for it have been fruitless (ice creamless?) since people started reporting seeing it in January of 2009.

Why fortunately? It wasn’t exactly the same product we remember. The original was made with Breyer’s ice cream and this temporary holiday fix wasn’t even made with real ice cream. Ingredients were: “nonfat milk, sugars, whey, cocoa, propylene glycol monoesters, cellulose gels, mono and diglycerides, locust bean gum, polysorbate 80, guar gum, natural flavor and carrageenan.”

Oh why do they vex us so? *sigh* At least we’ve got the memories. Right?

 

Update (March 15, 2012):

Thank you all for your comments! For those of you who haven’t read through them all, here’s some useful information:

Thank you to “Patrick” who apparently lives in Europe where the dessert is still available:

I just read this post and I’m sorry to see you guys have to miss out on this wonderful desert.

If it is at all helpful, i have some contact information with the company itself, you could try and see if you can get some pamphlets or information to bring to your local supermarkets?

Unilever N.V.
Corporate Centre
Visitingadres: Weena 455 – 3013 AL Rotterdam The Netherlands
Postadres: Postbus 760 – 3000 DK Rotterdam The Netherlands
Tel.: +3110 – 217 40 00
Fax: +3110 – 217 47 98
Internet: http://www.unilever.com

Also a big thank you to “Desdemona” who points out:

Please, there’s a petition to bring it back! Sign it and tell everyone you know to sign it, too.

http://www.petitiononline.com/brvien10/petition.html

[Petition Online is no longer available. – FR 08/26/2015]

“Rick” from Palo Alto, CA adds:

For those jonesing for the heroin that is Vienetta…I present to you your methadone: Voileta.

It’s a Vienetta knock off that isn’t exactly the same, but contains the same elements. The crispy chocolate layers are fewer and thicker (most likely because Dadu decided to add peanuts) and the Violeta cake is just not as pretty as a Vienetta…But I’m sure the differences are all about circumventing copyrights.

Best of all, I found this at my local Whole Foods. If your local Whole Foods doesn’t carry Violeta, you can always ask since Dadu is already part of their supply chain.

Correction: The crispy layers on the Violeta has hazelnut pieces…Not peanuts.

And yes, Violeta is delicious and has SOME of the same textural creamy/crispy mouth-feel as Vienetta…But Vienetta was much more subtle with the thinner crispy chocolate layers.

[NOTE: I had to briefly close comments on all my blog posts because of a flood of spam. I’ll reopen it at soon as I’ve got that all under control. FR 01/27/2015]

[Comments are re-opened! FR 08/26/2015]

Tags: , , , ,

127 Responses to “Solving the Mystery of the Missing Vienetta”

  1. Brittany Says:

    Drew that would be amazing if you could help produce results! I’m sure everyone who supports the Vienetta return would gladly donate to help bring it back into production . Is that legal? Idk but I’m desperate . After 2pregnancies craving this delicious delicate confection, I’d do just about anything possible to get Vienetta back :(

  2. Beth Says:

    My daughter just called me from work (she is bored, it’s a snow day) and she is craving this ice cream desert that I used to get when she was a little girl. She couldn’t remember the name. Well, I knew it was Viennetta. I just let her ramble about how good it was and then I got a word in. Just said the name and that was it. Then I told her you can’t get it anymore. She was crushed! I think if enough people demand it, we can get some form of it back. It doesn’t have to have the cute ribbon ice cream but the texture has to be the same as do the ingredients. It was the best!!

  3. Lily Says:

    I just love that I’m not alone in missing Viennetta!

  4. Pam Says:

    This really is amazing how many people remember this frozen treat. At one point they came out with individual cakes (for lack of a better word) that were served to the first class passengers of U.A. Airways in the late 90’s. I was always so excited when I was flying US Airways because I knew I would get my fix! I used to buy it all the time when it was still stocked in grocery stores in the U.S. and we eat way too much of this delectable ice cream loaf. My son( now 26) who was not a big sweet eater, LOVED Vienetta any time I could get my hands on one. I live in San Diego and we have a chain of 3 markets “Major Market” that carries a lot of hard to find treats. Next time I am near one, I will pop in to see if they have any version of this treat and will post IF I find some.

    Keep signing the petition and calling the numbers posted. I have another group that is trying to bring back Fkaky Flix cookies.

  5. Nicole Says:

    I can’t believe I’m not the only one looking for it. I remember eating it with my mom as a kid in the 90’s. I’ve described it to my husband but he never seen it or had it. I’ve been looking for it in the stores for years I would love for it to return.

  6. TEHSEEN Says:

    I saw the commercial when I was very young and remember looking at the plastered posters of this ice cream in Pakistan. It was purchased only once on a special occasion and only adults ate it. I got to lick my moms bowl and since then I’ve been jonesing for this ice cream. I visited Pakistan in 2005 and was unable to get my hands on this. Saw it in a Costco but I guess it was limited and never saw it again. They really need to bring this to USA. People just don’t know what they’re missing.

  7. Lori Says:

    I can’t remember the last time I had this exquisite dessert (sad face) =( I am hopeful though that it will one day come back to the US in it’s original form. I have been craving it for the past 10 years and completely missed the 2nd time it came back. It just wouldn’t be right if they brought it back in some other style. It has to be in it’s original form for me. Please Unilever and Breyers you’re US Viennetta fans are waiting. It would be a huge injustice and disservice for you not to satisfy our cravings. At least give it back to us temporarily so I can make my wife try it just once!! But when you do, please announce it.

  8. Nick Says:

    I am the same Nick from above, who purchased the product in 2010. I haven’t seen Vienetta since my earlier comments, sadly. It wasn’t the same as before, but at least a bit of a reminder. I’d love for the product to come back to stores, especially with better ice cream.

    However, I will back up the comment by N. Jase as it pertains to Haggen Dazs Stracciatella Gelato being a nice substitute. Oddly enough, the Grocery Outlet chain had 2.5 gallon buckets for $7 or so a few months ago, which led me on to that great product.

  9. Michelle Says:

    Omg. How amazing to find this blog. My 15 year old daughter has tormented me for years asking why she has never again had the cake she had on her first birthday (she has seen the videos). For a few years after we could only find this vienetta cake At a small local store. Then….gone. Thanks for letting me know that I didn’t imagine this !

  10. Hilary Says:

    Hi! Along with so many others, I’m glad to be around other believers and hopers. :D Hubby and I were talking about Vienetta and I miss it! I saw it in Japan a few months ago and skipped over it, not realizing I couldn’t get it in Canada.

    The first time I devoured a cake was when I lived in Finland 15 years ago. I didn’t buy it in Canada then because it was expensive and I was a student.

    Now that I crave it, I’m out of luck. I add my voice to the other pleas!

    Here’s to outstanding frozen desserts!

  11. Jenna B Says:

    I had forgotten about this tasty treat until a recent trip to Ireland. I spotted it in a Tesco supermarket, and exclaimed a bit too loudly, “Oh my god, it’s Vienetta!” I hadn’t had it since the early 80’s, but remembered everything about it. My mother had never heard of it, and thought I was a bit nuts to be getting so excited over ice-cream. We were staying in a hotel, so we had nowhere to keep it. I searched for it when I returned to the US, only to discover it had been discontinued. I wish I had bought it, even if it were only to have one slice and throw the rest out!

  12. Diane L Says:

    Wow I can’t believe even in 2014, people are still reminiscing about Viennetta!!!! I still think about it even after 18 years.

    Now that I know it’s in Europe, I think I’m just going to HAVE to take a trip there.

    Maybe going to have to attempt to try to make this dessert… Anybody have the ingredient list?

  13. Justin Says:

    For the lucky friends in Vancouver, you can find the dessert in Chinese supermarket T&T. Sadly, they only offer tiramisu and chocolate favor. The ice cream is now made by Japanese company Morinaga.

  14. Andie Says:

    I live in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and I used to buy Vienetta all the time from my local grocery store. I was just thinking about this delicious treat, so naturally I decided to Google it. Thanks to this blog post I feel much better about craving this long-lost treat, I just wish they would bring it back! My eyes will be open for any chance of it here in Canada!

  15. Erin Says:

    There is also Dolcetto made by Nestle Canada. I’ve never had it, but it looks quite similar.

    http://products.nestle.ca/en/brands/ice-cream/dolcetto.aspx

  16. susan Says:

    I too have been dreaming about this smooth ice cream and its thin layers of crunchy chocolate. Well…..I found one that is sooooo similar …its amazing.

    YAAAAAY Its made by Nestle its called Dolcetto

  17. susan Says:

    I found the absolute closest thing to our yummy desert we all miss so much.
    Yaaaaaaay!!!!
    Go to the grocery store and look for
    NESTLE DOLCETTE ICE CREAM CAKE

  18. susan Says:

    I hope this helps all of you :) I tried to copy and paste and image but it wont let me ….Google it to see what the packaging looks like and good luck to you…I imaging anyone who seeks nestle…could easily order it if they dont carry it in their freezers. :) enjoy everyone :)))

  19. Lauren Says:

    Sooooo happy to have found this blog! Was just talking to my Mom about a New Years long ago when I made her buy this ‘fancy’ ice cream and she served it to us in fancy dessert glasses, like the commercial! We felt sooo fancy! So sad to hear they don’t make it anymore. I couldn’t remember the name, so THANK YOU for solving that for me! Will definitely be trying the other brands suggested to get my fix!

Leave a Reply