Are You Sure This Is Vegan?

Are You Sure This Is Vegan?“Are you sure this is vegan?” Those were my mother’s words as she devoured a chocolate and vanilla mix of this delicious ice cream.  Clearly, I failed to pay fast enough to capture a photo of her bowl. It really is a tasty frozen treat. It has a lighter texture than dairy-made ice cream.

I stopped eating American ice cream, before I became vegan. After tasting “chocolat du blanc” ice cream in Paris, I could never go back. The after taste and resulting mucus build up in my throat was a complete turn off. I later learned that anti-freeze was a common ingredient in US commercial ice cream and was too appalled to try any new flavors.

I doubt that this vegan vanilla ice cream would measure up to “chocolat du blanc” in a taste test. However, I am grateful to New York’s lower east side for providing another delicious vegan option.

Introducing Van Leeuwen….

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Two months ago a friend, visiting from Korea, noticed the vegan sign as we strolled the area. To my surprise, there was no soy listed in the ingredients.

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This shop is located on 7th street between 1st and 2nd avenues. So far, they only offer two vegan options but there are plenty of flavors for vegetarians and omnivores….

I visited their website to learn more about the ingredients and discovered that they have two additional stores in Brooklyn.  Also, pints of the ice cream are sold in more than 100 local stores. It appears there is hope for non- New Yorkers, since they carry it in several Whole Food stores. Maybe, one day, Whole Foods will carry it nationally.


Here is how Van Leeuwen creates my favorite flavor:

“We set out to create a vanilla flavor with a truly homemade taste. Because industrially produced vanilla extracts are the status quo in the ice cream supply industry, this was no easy task. We tried many of these extracts; many were great, but none were awe-inspiring. So we kept experimenting. When striving to make the best, sacrifices cannot be made. After months of searching, we discovered a rare breed: organic bourbon and Tahitian vanilla orchids grown in Papua New Guinea. The plump pod fruits (beans) are cured in the sun to concentrate flavor. They are then aged in vodka in oak barrels for four months at an ambient temperature. After this, we grind the beans and vodka into a paste…….allowing the delicate flavored pod pulp to come through. The final product has a delicate, complex and mellow flavor.”

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