We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of storied Pink Sauce—remember her? We didn’t know it at the time, but the inadvertently Barbie-core condiment just might have foretold 2023’s Hot Pink Summer, which has loudly and proudly announced its arrival over the past few weeks. There’s been a recent swell of gimmicky fuschia-hued foods in our midst thanks to an extremely well-financed marketing push for Barbie, the hotly anticipated Margot Robbie–helmed blockbuster of the season. We’re talking Barbie-inspired frozen desserts from Cold Stone and Pinkberry. Barbie pasta’s in the mix. (Spoiler alert: It’s normal penne in a pink bag.) Care for a can of Barbie pink lemonade? Oh, and there’s literally an entire Malibu Barbie Cafe popping up in New York’s Seaport, and it’s shockingly expensive.
Obviously, we had to taste all of these things and rank them on a scale of Very Barbie to Not-So-Barbie, as well as on the entirely separate factor of whether the food actually tasted good. Which ones merely invoked Barbie at the level of aesthetics, and which truly captured her essence? Read on to find out.
Barbie Land Berry Pink Frozen Yogurt at Pinkberry
As a brand that’s already dusted in pink, froyo chain Pinkberry represented the most promising choice to deliver an acceptably Barbie food item. Its entry into the movie’s marketing canon, the Barbie Land Berry Pink, is purportedly a blend of strawberry and dragon fruit frozen yogurt—depicted as a chubby pink swirl in a pink cup, topped with glittery silver and pink “Dream Sprinkles.” My local Pinkberry had its pink Barbie the Movie cups ready in all three sizes, as well as multiple posters advertising its pink wares. I went in and simply requested “that Barbie flavor.”
Alas, my small cup was not filled to the brim like the ads depicted—but I must say, otherwise, this froyo got me into the Barbie spirit. Though the froyo will win no awards for tasting similar to farmers market strawberries, it did taste pleasantly like the sugary berry-flavored Gogurts (aka yogurt in a plastic tube) that I ate as a kid. The sprinkles looked like actual plastic glitter: a blend of metallic-looking silver stars and squares, pink and white pearls, and larger pink nuggets. They clinked against my teeth in a way that I imagine real plastic would; I certainly did not think that any human should be consuming them as a food. In other words, it was everything I could have asked for in a treat inspired by a glamorous doll who I used to force into soap opera plots on my living room floor. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic, baby. 5/5 Barbie. —Serena Dai, editorial director
Available at select locations of Pinkberry
Pasta G. Di Martino’s Barbie Pennette Rigate
What is “Barbie” pasta? I practically gestured air quotes to myself while walking into Whole Foods to find the Barbie Pennette Rigate from the brand Pasta G. Di Martino. In my head I envisioned a boxed kit, similar to a cake mix made by another feminist icon (Dolly Cake, anyone?). It would be complete with an unnaturally pink sauce to pour over the bright fuschia-toned extruded pasta that would come in an array of shapes: high heels, lipstick, handbags, rollerblades. I grew up believing that Barbie could do anything, and I wanted this pasta to be dreamy.