Tasting Van Leeuwen’s New Vegan Ice Cream


Good news for vegans this summer: One of Fork’s favorite parlors in the city,Van Leeuwen, has debuted two new flavors made without the shop’s usual cream, milk, and eggs. We stopped in for a taste of the new vanilla and chocolate scoops, to see how they stood up to our usual order of strawberry and palm sugar.

The vanilla was light and perfume-y, tasting profoundly tropical thanks to a base of coconut cream and cocoa butter, rather than custard. Texturally, though, it was a touch spongy and icy, and lacked the richer, creamier texture of Van Leeuwen’s dairy ice creams.

“It’s a good start,” said the Voice‘s vegan copy chief after having a taste, “but can’t they do better?” I was wondering the same thing.

Ask any ice cream maker who’s spun a batch of vegan ice cream and she’ll tell you how hard it is to mimic the silkiness produced by cream and yolks. But Van Leeuwen’s more satisfying chocolate flavor, which is made with Michel Cluziel chocolate like their dairy version, did manage a bit more depth and body.