Cheez Ball mania peaked in the 90s and then almost silently as we rolled into the first decade of the 21st century, they disappeared. Almost immediately fans started calling out for their return. It looked like this century might be largely Cheez-free, but nostalgia marketing delivered another victory when Planters announced they would be returning Cheez Balls and Cheez Curlz to shelves for a limited time.
As a fan of both the fabled Cheez Balls and Cheez Curlz, I was excited and quickly tried to find them. Ordering them online went nowhere. I had what I thought was a breakthrough with Amazon. They took my order, but then were quickly overwhelmed with orders and I watched as my order was delayed again and again. That was the closest I got to an online purchase.
Rebuffed online, I started scouring local supermarkets. Trying to do my shopping at different places so that I could stroll the aisles seeing if they had any. I even did the unthinkable and picked up the phone to call some more distant markets. Every place told me they did not have them. Most had no idea what I was talking about.
Then last night, I needed to run to the Fred Meyer to pick up some groceries, and while walking down the aisle, there they were next to an endcap. The display was wonky, but mostly full. This made sense, since they were positioned nowhere near the snack aisle.
I filled my small cart with a bunch of cans. They were over-priced and smaller than the cans of my youth. Planters said they would go for $1.99 a can, these had about a 75% markup. My enthusiasm overcame any qualms I might have about overpaying and I ran home with my treasure.
I really should not have bought so many, because once I started eating, I couldn’t stop. It wasn’t the balls that did me in, although they were fine (maybe cheesier than I remember), it was the Cheez Curlz. Crunchy, thin and cheesy, these gnarled nuggets of deliciousness have always been a weakness of mine. 4 cans later, I was filled with regret, but made plans to return tomorrow to stock up.
Planters said limited time and I would like to make these last. Tonight, I will buy what I can. Just enough for a normal human to get through the end of the year. So they will probably be eaten by the end of the month.
I am not sure if Planters will keep selling them. So if you have a Fred Meyer in your area, why not give them a call and pick some up. If not, more for me.