Oreo is one of those brands that never ceases to play around. Every year, it releases a cavalcade of new flavors and varieties, seemingly with no end to the creativity in sight. The thing is, Oreo typically plays around with its filling flavors while keeping the cookies rather consistent—it’s almost always the crispy chocolate cookie, sometimes in “Golden” form or otherwise flavored to match the filling, but 100% recognizable as an Oreo. That’s what makes this latest product launch much more interesting: Oreo has reached across brand lines to mash up the ol’ black-and-white cookies with a savory friend, Ritz crackers, to create a sandwich that’s sure to raise some eyebrows.
Ritz x Oreo, explained
This Oreo/Ritz mashup squashes together a Ritz cracker with peanut butter and the original Oreo cookie and creme into one little bundle. The limited-time promotion dropped May 26, but it sold out quickly, according to Oreo’s website. The samples were actually free; you only had to pay $3.95 for shipping. But Oreo did send The Takeout a package before they disappeared, and I was able to try them out as an afternoon snack at the office.
Six cracker/sandwich cookies were included in the sample box, carefully packaged in a clamshell-type container that hugged each individual cookie from above and below in rigid plastic. This is a big difference from regular Ritz crackers, which are packaged in stacks wrapped in waxy sleeves inside the box, and regular Oreos, which sit in a rigid tray with plastic wrap covering them from above.
These cracker/cookie hybrids are pretty attractive to look at, since the cookie, cracker, and both fillings all have contrasting colors. Ritz crackers have long been a favorite of mine, since they’re the only crackers I grew up eating. I’m a fan of those buttery, flaky rounds, plus I like Oreos as much as the next person, so I figured this would be a pretty fun crossover.
How does Ritz x Oreo taste?
I took my first bite and, to my dismay, was immediately disappointed. Was it a flavor issue? Not at all. The salty cracker against chocolate cookie, peanut butter, and creme was a pretty serviceable combination. What really caught me off guard was the texture of one component in particular: the Oreo cookie.
While the Ritz cracker maintained every bit of its buttery crispness, and the peanut butter and creme were velvety smooth and delicious, the Oreo portion of the cookie sandwich had somehow become stale and mushy. It was soft and pliable, almost gummy when chewed, and texturally unappealing. Normally Oreos are crisp and crunchy. When they’re not, it’s a huge distraction.
Maybe that rigid clamshell packaging had trapped some moisture against the cookies, because they were in really bizarre shape, with a sort of stale softness to them that was wildly off. Still, how did the Oreos suffer while the Ritz crackers fared just fine?
I passed the (very snug) package around to other coworkers, each of whom tasted the product and made the same face I did—and everyone remarked about the texture of the Oreo being incorrect. If not for this hiccup in the execution, Ritz x Oreo has all the makings of a fun novelty item and inventive, tasty snack, but the texture issue was so distracting that even eating one sandwich cookie became something of a slog. That’s too bad.
If you’re really disappointed you didn’t get a free package from Oreo, don’t worry—you haven’t missed out on anything. In fact, you could probably hack one together yourself just fine, with a tiny smear of peanut butter on a Ritz plus half a separated Oreo. Whatever you assemble would probably better reflect what the brand was trying to accomplish here. Alternatively, you can score this sold-out product on the secondary market for a reasonable $600. Up to you.