Appetizers

After months of speculation, Red Velvet Oreos are here

Red Velvet Oreos are a hit or a miss, depending on how sweet you like your cookies.
Red Velvet Oreos are a hit or a miss, depending on how sweet you like your cookies. apierleoni@sacbee.com

They’ve arrived at last, and the nation’s Cookie Monsters couldn’t be more excited.

After playing coy since October over whether it was really going to release a limited-edition Red Velvet Oreo in time for Valentine’s Day — thus generating a frenzy of speculation (and publicity) on social media — the giant Nabisco company finally rolled out its highly anticipated cookie on Monday.

After a dead-end phone search for the elusive treat on Monday, we finally located the cookies at 7:30 this morning at the Save Mart store in East Sacramento, 5600 Folsom Blvd., (916) 456-3862.

When we didn’t spot them prominently displayed inside the store — what, no end-aisle set-up with signage? — we were allowed entrance into the back-room storage area. There, unopened cardboard boxes of Red Velvet Oreos were stacked on a pallet. An obliging employee cut open a box and we took two packages of the cookies to the check-out area ($3.50 for a 10.7-ounces).

Dominating the front of the package is an image of a big slice of Red Velvet Cake, an iconic dessert that has evolved to become a cupcake flavor and whose origins are vague. According to the food-centric website Leite’s Culinaria: “While no one knows exactly when and where Red Velvet Cake originated, a story (and recipe) began circulating around the United States in the 1920s about a cake that supposedly was served at the restaurant in New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.”

Also on the packaging are the words “Cream Cheese Flavored Creme” and “Artificially Flavored.” The ingredients box shows sugar first, along with high-fructose corn syrup and red dye 40, a.k.a. Allura Red.

Our tasters reacted:

“I kind of like them. They have an extra zing of sugar.”

“The filling is thicker than (the filling in) the Original, and sort of cream-cheesy. I’m not going to eat any more of these, but I’m not sure I would be saying that if you had a box of Original Oreos here.”

“Not bad, but I’m an Original Oreo fan.”

“These are the Cadillac of Oreos.”

“Well done, Nabisco!”

“That’s a great cookie.”

“I could get used to these, but they wouldn’t be part of my steady diet.”

Seasonal and limited-edition Oreos are a big-seller for the New Jersey-based National Biscuit Company, which distributes cookies and snacks globally. Its production facility in Chicago occupies 1.8 million square feet, possibly making it the world’s biggest bakery. There, over the years, Nabisco has introduced dozens of limited-edition flavors, including Candy Corn, Neopolitan, Birthday Cake, Gingerbread, Watermelon and Cookie Dough.

Could the Red Velvet Oreo possibly usurp some of See’s Candies’ dominance on Valentine’s Day? Somehow, we think not.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

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