Fake Chocolate Mousse to Celebrate Me o’Clock

Jell-O Mousse Temptations Chocolate Indulgence

Jell-O Mousse Temptations Chocolate Indulgence

I Paid: $3.68 for 13.8 ounces of mousse (six cups; prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3 stars

Marketing: 3 stars

When a mass-marketed dessert calls itself a “temptation” and wraps itself in sultry, cursive script and female-targeted packaging and marketing, beware. Not that it’s guaranteed to be bad, but it’s guaranteed to be a disappointment—sensual luxury may be what you want, but artificially sweetened mass-manufactured utility is what you’re going to get. And if “It’s Me o’Clock” is the official slogan of the product in question, be doubly on guard. If it were really Me o’Clock, let’s not screw around: You’d be eating real chocolate mousse.

The widely flogged Jell-O Mousse Temptations are little single-serving mousse-style pudding cups that boast of an indulgent, decadent experience without the calories. How is this accomplished?

First and foremost: air. Lots of air. Mousse is supposed to be lightly whipped, which is a license to insert and sell chocolate-flavored air to credulous buyers. To be fair: Jell-O’s Temptations have a pleasantly light, whipped quality that is actually reminiscent of real mousse. Where they fall predictably short is a lack of the rich, unctuous mouthfeel and depth of chocolate flavor that comes from using real, old-school ingredients … as opposed to artificial sweeteners such as sucralose.

That trademark sucralose emptiness of flavor wounds the impact of Temptations but doesn’t kill it dead—there’s still some cocoa kick and a pleasant fluffy texture. And for 60 calories, well, they’re making the most of a pretty restrictive situation.

Change “temptation” to “sensible choice for dieters” and “indulgent” to “not as terrible as you feared,” and you’d have a dessert as honest as it is basically inoffensive.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow Chowhound on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.

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