Since Nov. 15, Wendy’s has been selling a seasonal, limited-edition Peppermint Frosty in place of its usual Strawberry Frosty. Deviating from its usual dessert selection, the Peppermint Frosty is the fast-food chain’s boldest commitment to holiday cheer yet.
Like sweets available at a myriad of other fast food burger chains, Wendy’s Frosty is an affordable ice cream-like dessert that is available in a select number of flavors. However, Frosties are meant to be consumed frozen with a spoon similar to soft-serve, setting itself apart from other cold fast food desserts that are supposed to be consumed with a straw like a milkshake.
Unlike McDonald’s, which frequently introduces new McFlurry flavors regularly, Wendy’s strategy in producing and peddling their frozen treats is boasting a fairly consistent Frosty selection. Over the past sixteen years, Wendy’s has only carried four varieties of Frosty: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and peppermint. The newest flavor is temporarily replacing the strawberry flavor, which itself replaced the vanilla flavor this past summer and was cited as a huge success by the company. This is also the first holiday-themed flavor Frosty sold by the chain ever.
As such, Wendy’s patrons have by now noticed that the only two Frosty flavors available are the staple Chocolate Frosty and the festive Peppermint Frosty. It was clear that I had a mission to try both and review them so my fellow College of William and Mary students would know whether or not their money would be well-spent if they decided to pursue either — or if they should even bother with Wendy’s for frozen desserts at all.
I will preface my experience with the Peppermint Frosty by describing my journey to Wendy’s. To my disappointment, the location on Richmond Road was out of the item, and I had to make my way to the Wendy’s on Monticello Avenue. This could either be interpreted as a negative or a positive; either some Wendy’s franchisees are neglecting to stock up on enough Frosties, or the item is so popular among the College’s students and locals that the location nearest to campus was cleaned out.
The Monticello Avenue Wendy’s, however, carried both the Peppermint and Chocolate Frosties. I was impressed by the clean and sleek drive-thru, and I was relieved that I did not have to drive to three Wendy’s in a single evening. Having acquired one of each Frosty flavor, I took off and prepared a taste test.
I believe that the Frosty’s defining trait — its frozenness — is one of its greatest strengths. The texture of both Frosties was identical, and both were satisfying to eat with a spoon rather than a straw. This characteristic, however, can also turn into a liability — after only about 20 minutes, both Frosties began to melt. As they adopted the consistency of sleet, they became far less satisfying to consume. I would therefore caution customers to eat their Frosties quickly and to be aware that a smaller size is most likely liable to melt more quickly.
The Peppermint Frosty’s special flavor ended up being a mixed bag for me. Though certainly not bad, the dessert’s greatest fault is that it simply does not taste very much like peppermint. As such, I was not immediately overcome with holiday spirit as I had initially hoped I would be. Though I was certainly disappointed by this, I still think the drink’s taste is solid; I would liken the actual flavor more to a very buttery strawberry taste. There were some notes of mint, but they were not particularly commanding. Unfortunately, I cannot compare the taste of a Wendy’s Peppermint Frosty to that of a conventional candy cane.
I was much more taken by the flavor of the chocolate Frosty. This definitely had dairy in it (lactose-intolerant buyer beware). It tasted more like dark chocolate than milk chocolate, and neither the fat nor sugar was overpowering. I should also mention that I felt this flavor had a better tummy-feel than that of the Peppermint Frosty thanks, in large part, to its reduced sweetness. Though not particularly unique, if you like chocolate and frozen desserts, you will be hard-pressed to complain about the Chocolate Frosty. Once again, I cannot say that I hated the taste of the Peppermint Frosty; however, given the choice between the holiday flavor and the staple, I cannot really recommend the former besides as a novelty purchase.
One last factor to consider in evaluating the value proposition of purchasing a Peppermint Frosty is its price. Sitting at $2.49 plus tax, a medium Frosty is not particularly expensive and comes in a decent size. The Peppermint Frosty is also the same price as the standard chocolate flavor despite its status as a limited-time menu item. The McDonald’s Oreo McFlurry will similarly run you $2.39 at a regular size. In terms of bang-for-your-buck I can thus certainly recommend the Frosty; you get what you pay for.
My final verdict really hinges on what you’re in the mood for; if you aren’t in the mood to splurge and want to try a flavor that isn’t as solid as the standard chocolate Frosty but won’t be around forever, the Peppermint Frosty may just be for you. As long as you can handle high amounts of sugar and dairy at once and don’t expect the holiday drink that was promised, what you spend on medium Wendy’s peppermint Frosty probably won’t be the worst $2.49 you’ve forked over this semester.