I taste tested Van Leeuwen’s vegan ice cream at a non-vegan dinner party in which I was asked to bring dessert. More specifically I was asked to bring Tiramusu, but no Italian bakeries were open and besides I don’t eat Tiramisu unless my cousin Roseanne makes it. So vegan ice cream it was and everyone loved it! It was gone in a few minutes and everyone wondered wanted more.
Personally I preferred the chocolate, which was extremely rich, creamy and chocolately. It has an underlying hint of coconut in a very delicious way. I am looking forward to new weekly flavors!
We chatted with the folks at Van Leeuwen about this new and miraculous vegan creation.
GP: Were you getting a lot of requests for vegan ice cream?
VL: Yes, there are many people who are lactose intolerant and do not have many vegan options around there neighborhood.
GP: How long did it take to get the recipe right?
VL: It took us about a month to get it just right, but we are always trying to tweak all of our recipes including non-vegan flavors to make it the best it could possibly be.
GP: What exactly is in your vegan ice cream?
VL: The chocolate vegan has: organic coconut milk, Michel Cluizel 99% chocolate chips, Michel Cluizel cocoa powder, cane sugar, and just a bit of guar gum.
GP: Why did you chose coconut base rather that soy?
VL: We wanted to use coconut milk because much of the soy products we see today are GMO. We always try to use non-GMO high quality ingredients in our ice cream whenever possible.
GP: Is it a much different process to make the ice cream without dairy milk? How does it affect the flavor? Texture?
VL: It’s a lot easier in fact because with vegan ice cream you can combine all ingredients at once and bring up to temp. Whereas, regular crème anglaise, you have to put certain ingredients into the pasteurizer in a particular order and at a certain temperature in order to prevent scrambled eggs. Plus the homogenization of base mix is very important if you want to create a creamy texture to your ice cream.
GP: If someone didn’t know it was vegan would they be able to tell?
VL: There is a definitive coconut flavor that comes through in our Veganilla. Our chocolate vegan ice cream has a hint of coconut, but very rich in chocolate flavor.
GP: Is it selling well?
VL: Our Vegan ice cream has been selling really well and we have received great feedback from our customers thus far.
GP: Do you plan on making additional flavors?
VL: Yes, we plan on creating more staple vegan flavors soon including weekly special vegan flavors!