As this hot and sticky New York City summer comes to a close, I fully intend to enjoy everything that it has to offer while the sun is still shining. Of course the first place to start, is with ice cream.
Back in June, I stumbled upon a cute yellow and blue ice cream truck and did a double take - does that truck say vegan scoops? Obviously, I had to try it, and boy am I glad that I did.
Van Leeuwen’s vegan ice cream is made from cocoa butter blended with coconut and cashew creams, and it is delicious. This is the type of vegan ice cream that you forget is dairy-free, it’s just that perfect. According to Van Leeuwen Co-Founder, Ben Van Leeuwen, the secret is in the balance between solid and fat content, a balance which he was able to achieve specifically with cashew cream. Unlike almond milk, cashew cream is made with the whole cashew blended in, lending a more solid texture and property to the final product.
Many vegan ice creams do, indeed, lack this mouth feel. With Van Leeuwen, though, you still get the satisfying chewiness of ice cream along with that indulgent creamy flavor. That incredible base recipe, coupled with specially sourced flavor ingredients, is exactly what makes Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream so crave-inducing!
I am a huge fan of Van Leeuwen’s vegan chocolate flavor, with incredible dark chocolate from French chocolatier, Micael Cluizel, but I also have a great deal of fun tasting whatever novel vegan flavors happen to be in stock when I pop in (this occurs quite often). At the East Village store, I had an espresso scoop with said chocolate, and that was a perfect afternoon pick-me-up in the August heat!
I can also highly recommend Van Leeuwen’s vegan pistachio flavor, made with nuts that are only harvested once every two years in Bronte, Italy. The pistachios are bursting with flavor because the trees are able to save up moisture and sugars in the year between harvests, for this reason (and I’m sure a few others), this pistachio farm is certified by The Slow Food Institute of Italy. This practice lines up with the entire Van Leeuwen ethos, which is to “celebrate ingredients perfected by nature, not science.” I was so pleased to learn that Van Leeuwen not only makes delicious vegan ice cream, but that the family owned company also does so in a mindful and authentic way.
In the words of Ben Van Leeuwen, Van Leeuwen “ice cream base has only a handful of ingredients. It is truly artisanal. Most ice cream has like, 27 ingredients. Weird shit you can’t even pronounce. An illusion to your taste buds. It won’t make you feel good after you eat it.” So go ahead and feel good about scarfing down a double scoop vegan cone from Van Leeuwen, I am right there with you!
You can indulge in Van Leeuwen’s delicious vegan ice cream scoops at multiple locations in New York, including stores and trucks. You can also, now, find Van Leeuwen ice cream in Los Angeles!
The NYC Shops are located in:
Williamsburg - opening soon on Wythe!
Greenpoint - 620 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn
Boerum Hill - 81 Bergen Street, Brooklyn
East Village - 48.5 E 7th Street, Manhattan
West Village - 152 W 10th Streeet, Manhattan
Williamsburg (Brooklyn) - Bedford & N 8th (12pm - late)
SoHo (Manhattan) - Prince & Greene (12pm - 6pm)
University Place (Manhattan) - University & 12th Street (7pm - late)
Los Angeles Locations:
Culver City - opening soon !
Downtown LA - opening soon!