OatsCreme: Dairy-Free Trick or Treat?


I don't deny it. I had been eyeing that OatsCreme swirl for months. It seemed to call to me -- what with all that vanilla and chocolate wrapped up together in oat-rich goodness. It seemed so perfect: me loving oats, it made of oats. Me, lactose intolerant, it a treat for the lactose intolerant. Me, suffering from high cholesterol, it - made from oat flour and water and no added sugars, heart healthy in every way. So many things seemed to be going for us, and yet ... something kept holding me back from trying. What if it was too good to be true?

Oats Creme is available on the 2nd floor of the IDS Center at Sola Squeeze.

This week, I took the plunge. I walked into the Sola Squeeze at the IDS Center in Minneapolis and ordered a swirl cone of vanilla and chocolate. I gladly handed over the $1.40, and grasping my sugar cone, took my first bite. Mmmm, cool, I thought, ice cold, refreshing. Mildly sweet, I ascertained on my second bite. Upon my third bite, I realized, I wanted no more. Was I overwhelmed by the moment or was something already not quite right? Desperately, I tried to taste the flavors separately. The chocolate seemed to have slight bit of cocoa added to it, but otherwise the two tasted relatively the same.

Something about this "dairy-free indulgence" was wrong, terribly wrong. OatsCreme was cool, but not creamy; mildly sweet, but not deliciously so. In the end, it was edible, but (gasp!) not at all tasty. Strangely, an image of a childhood art class came to mind -- a workshop where we made our own paper. The result was multi-colored, fibrous and roughly rectangular in shape, okay for a gift to parents, but not actually something anyone would ever write on. So it is with OatsCreme; it has some pleasing, familiar elements -- it looks good and is good for you -- but it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to eat it.

With my hopes and dreams dashed, all I was left with was a singular chemical aftertaste (so strange in a thoroughly natural product). Wistfully, I walked home, remembering again why I love animal products, complete with fat and flaws. As I left, I saw another patron, a man, dutifully eating his cone up up bite after bite, the way as I child I would sip teaspoons of cough syrup. Must be diabetic, I thought, and walked on.