salted caramel
salted caramel
Three Little Birds’ salted caramel

Ice cream is typically not a particularly vegan indulgence. However, in innovative New York City, milk doesn’t necessarily need to be an ingredient. The following purveyors in NYC produce high quality, dairy-free ice cream, flavorful without any nutty aftertastes.

1. Three Little Birds

Three Little Birds’ founders Wei Gan and Derek Hackett are both vegans for ethical reasons, as well as big proponents of handmade and minimally processed products — which is why all their ice cream, toppings and sauces are made in-house. The inspiration for the brand was a Bob Marley song by the same name, invoking the same sense of peace they hoped to deliver through the palate.

Using cashews and tree nut milks as the base, they manage to deliver a product that’s super creamy, smooth and thick, yet light and airy. Along with classic flavors like Neapolitan, Cookies ‘n’ Cream and Death By Chocolate, the team likes to get creative. Think South Louisiana Candied Yams, Mulled Apple Cider Streusel and, for the Harry Potter fans, Butterbeer — with many flavors infused with ethically-sourced Fair Trade organic cocoa powder (until they perfect their own in-house chocolate recipe). You’ll find them regularly at the monthly Vegan Shop Up and the weekly April through October Hester Street Fair.

2. DF Mavens

Started by Malcolm Stogo, who has garnered the nickname “The Godfather of Ice Cream” with achievements including inventing Cookies & Cream, DF Mavens in the East Village is the largest of NYC’s vegan ice cream offerings. The shop features dairy-free, kosher and sugar-free ice creams in flavors that feature regional ingredients from around the world: New Orleans Salted Praline, Madagascar Vanilla, Key Lime Creme and Sicilian Hazelnut Truffle, all using coconut, almond and soy milks. Bonus: A portion of each sale goes to the animal rights nonprofit, Mercy for Animals.

Alchemy Creamery
Alchemy Creamery’s delicious fruity fare. Yum!

3. Alchemy Creamery

“Alcreamist” Giuseppe Maione is the brains behind the operation, inspired by living with an ice cream maker when he first moved to NYC. As he was lactose intolerant (as is the entire 4-person team), he started experimenting making his own ice creams using alternative milks, Ben & Jerry’s creative flavors and a drive for new ideas until Alchemy Creamery was born.

Today, the ice cream brand is known for its uber creamy dairy-free, gluten-free, kosher ice cream made from a hazelnut, coconut and almond milk blend infused with fresh fruits, vegetables and teas. Featuring whimsical push pops and pints in flavors such as Almond Marzipan, Chocolate Chai, Salted Peanut Butter and Strawberries & Cream, you can savor it for yourself at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn and at 1 Gouverneur St. on Governor’s Island, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

4. Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream

Offering a mix of ethics, nutrition and nostalgia, Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream serves their gluten-free, GMO-free, all-natural ice creams from the window of an ice cream truck (six trucks, actually). Made from scratch in Greenpoint, they produce a line of vegan ice creams made with organic coconut milk, cashew milk, organic cane sugar, raw cocoa butter and organic extra virgin coconut oil. Biodigradable cups and spoons, all-natural cones, small producer-sourced toppings and, if you decide to go non-vegan, hormone and antibiotic-free milk add to the appeal.

Chloe's Soft Serve
Colorful Chloe’s Soft Serve

5. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.

Founded by friends Chloe, Jason and Michael, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. crafts vegan, kosher, gluten- and fat-free soft serve. Containing just real fruit, organic cane sugar and water, these treats offer a guilt-free indulgence with flavors including apple, pumpkin, mango and indulgent dark chocolate. If you’re feeling particularly sinful, the sundaes feature additional toppings like the “crunchy salty,” where a base of banana and dark chocolate is gowned in banana, pretzels, gooey chocolate and natural peanut butter that’s been heated up for a contrast of sensations.

*This post originally appeared on Drive the District

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Looking for the best ice-cream in NYC? Check out this post to learn where to find delicious vegan ice-cream in the Big Apple. In this post we give you a list of NYC ice-cream shops that serve a variety of dairy free flavors.

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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