Many of us have fond memories of lunchbox-ready pudding packs from our cafeteria days. Yet the snack makers of our youth rarely deviated from the conventional vanilla-chocolate-combo flavor trinity. Today's manufacturers, on the other hand, exhibit no such restraint, producing dark chocolate, butterscotch and even dulce de leche pudding variants. And when we saw the gaudy, 90's-style packaging of Jell-O S'mores Pudding Snacks, our inner grade-schoolers could not resist picking them up for a try.
What we expected: While we were by no means bracing ourselves for groundbreaking flavor combinations, we did anticipate a parfait-style cup that would have incorporated a layer of actual graham cracker crumbles into the snack. Moreover, we wondered how Jell-O would handle the marshmallow. Actual fluff or just pudding? Toasted flavor or none?
What we really got: From the "x-treme" packaging, we sort of wished that a piping hot s'more sandwich would pop out of the cup as we opened the lid. Instead we found a simple pudding cup that incorporated chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker flavors. Yup...there are no crunchy bits of graham here, just some noticeable graham-like flavors in the white pudding layer. Standard creamy chocolate pudding fills about half of the cup, while a bit of whipped (think Yoplait Whips) graham-mallow hybrid tops off the snack.
The end result is not half bad. Although the pudding tastes predictably artificial (a vague "Natural and Artificial Flavor" label graces the ingredient list), it doesn't veer so far into the chemical realm that it becomes unpleasant. Additionally, the balance of marshmallow to chocolate is right on, keeping the snack sweet, though not too sugary. Most of our tasters enjoyed the pudding pack, with one even complementing the flavor's mocha/coffee notes—likely a result of mixing chocolate and graham cracker approximation flavorings. We definitely would have appreciated some real grahams to impart better texture and taste, but luckily the cups take well to graham-dipping and crushed cracker mix-ins. For a brief trip back to childhood (or for your own child's lunch), a Jell-O's S'Mores pack is a reasonably tasty option that avoids both chocolate-coated fingers and the need for an open fire.