It was supposed to be the “ice cream of the future,” but that was when Dippin’ Dots was founded, in 1988. Of course, they never said how far into the future we’d have to go before everyone would be eating cryogenically frozen globes of ice cream in our spacesuits.

Well, the future has come to pass, and we’re still fine with basic Ben & Jerry’s, thank you very much.

Dippin’ Dots — beloved by ’90s kids — remains an attraction at shopping malls, amusement parks and sports stadiums. The globular ice cream needs to be kept at minus-40 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature much lower than regular ice cream requires, which is why you cannot find it at grocery stores, where freezers are generally kept at higher temperatures. But now you can find it in the cereal aisle: Dippin’ Dots Cereal, made by General Mills, entered the market in mid-June.

Did the world need Dippin’ Dots cereal? Probably not, but we’ll give it a try because ’90s kids are nothing if not nostalgic.

It eschews all the space-age, retro-futuristic stuff that makes Dippin’ Dots cool. The cereal is round, like Dippin’ Dots, and has some crunchy, sugary clusters. But what people like about Dippin’ Dots isn’t its shape, it’s the texture: Those ice cream spheres that were so cold that they’d stick to your tongue like the flagpole in “A Christmas Story.” Or, how eventually they’d all melt together to make an ice cream slurry that, depending on the color of the dots, often came out sort of brown-gray.

This cereal tastes suspiciously like another General Mills cereal, Kix. I am convinced the company has pulled a fast one on us and rebranded Kix with a handful of chocolaty clusters thrown in — there were barely any in our Cookies ’n Cream box of cereal at all, and the chocolate flavor was indiscernible. Another flavor, Banana Split, is a little more sugary, but it smells like bubble gum and doesn’t taste like bananas, and for that, perhaps we should be lucky.

The cereal of the future feels a lot like the past.


(Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post)

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