Tacos are everywhere these days -- they're made out of waffles or Doritos, or they're those tiny ones at 7-Eleven. But before the days of taco trends, there was only one non-traditional taco that captured our wonderment and awe: the Choco Taco. From the telltale melody of the ice cream truck to the frozen section of your grocery store, they were there for you. But as many as you may have eaten back in the day, do you have the whole story? OF COURSE YOU DON'T, unless you read this:
1. It was invented in Philadelphia by... a senior vice president?! Alan Drazen, then the senior VP at Jack & Jill Ice Cream Company, created the beloved ice cream taco in the ‘80s. Sadly, it was NOT the product of a love affair between a Mexican taqueria cook and a Canadian ice cream enthusiast. Drazen now runs a vending machine company and occasionally goes to Pizza Brain in Philadelphia, as pictured above.
2. It's made by Klondike, but the Choco Taco chain of command is much longer than that. Klondike was bought by Good Humor-Breyers in the '90s, which is in turn a subsidiary of Unilever, which is a subsidiary of no one -- and the world's largest ice cream manufacturer. So the Choco Taco is in good (cold) hands.
3. They're healthy(ish) and kosher?!? The vanilla ice cream in a Choco Taco is reduced-fat, so it's actually kinda good for you! You know, except for all that chocolate-covered, fudge-swirled, peanut-topped business. So anyway, eating one is basically like doing Pilates. Plus, every time you bite into a Choco Taco, remember that a rabbi approved of it.
4. They weren't available in stores until 1996. C-Tacs officially debuted for sale in groceries at the Supermarket Industry Convention in Chicago in 1996, which was probably your best opportunity for free samples of reheated frozen boxed baklava.
Today you can find them in supermarkets, convenience stores, gas station freezer sections, and ice cream trucks.
5. Some fast-food restaurants carried them in-store. They were once sold at select Taco Bell and Taco John's locations. If you're feeling particularly motivated, you can still get Taco Bell's DIY boxed version in some supermarkets.
6. They're not just an American treat. Choco Tacos were marketed in Italy and Sweden under the name "Winner Tacos" until 2000, ostensibly when they discovered that eating them turned you into a giant horrifying polar bear. Popular opinion brought them back in 2014. BUT AT WHAT COST?!?!?!
7. Original vanilla with fudge swirl isn't the only flavor! Chocolate fans, rejoice! They're available in that flavor currently (check your local grocer's freezer!), and were formerly available in Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter, and Fried Ice Cream -- which, whoa.
8. You can use Klondike's Choco Taco locator to find some near you. It's right here -- all you have to do is enter your zip code and you could have your Choco Taco fix satisfied within the hour. Or you could just make your own BACON WEAVE VERSION. It's really up to you.
Adam Lapetina is a food/drink staff writer at Thrillist, and is a firm believer that every meal can and should be comprised solely of tacos. Read his musings on Twitter at @adamlapetina.