Viennetta is an ice cream product made in Unilever factories and sold under the various Heartbrand logos around the world. Viennetta comes in many flavours, including chocolate, mint, pistachio and pineapple.
Viennetta was launched first by Wall's in 1982, using a technique devised by Kevin Hillman, development manager at Wall's Gloucester factory.
The original Viennetta was a multi-layered product comprising layers of vanilla ice cream with sprayed-on layers of compound chocolate. The layers of ice cream were extruded, one after another, onto trays sitting on a moving belt. The rate of extrusion was greater than the speed of the belt which caused a deliberate "bunching" of the ice cream; each layer was extruded at a different speed from the previous layer. The final effect was akin to a series of waves rippling through the product. This visual aspect combined with the in-the-mouth contrast of the smooth ice cream covered in crisp compound chocolate to give the product an instant appeal.
Allegedly, this effect was originally unintended by Kevin's team. However, it was swiftly recognised as a winner, and the product was launched with the "bunching".
Launched originally as a multi-portion dessert product, it has been so successful after being launched throughout KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants that Unilever, owners of Wall's, has produced many flavour and size variants, turning Viennetta into a worldwide multimillion pound brand. Viennetta is sparsely available in the United States, and Unilever no longer produces the brand in Canada. It is sold in Australia under the Streets brand.
The Viennetta was previously known as Comtessa in Spain, due to a legal problem. It became Viennetta in the 1990s.