I have a love affair with ice cream– if I can help it, it is a component of every “treat” dessert I have, usually enjoyed on a Friday or Saturday night after a dinner out. Since it is so difficult to find vegan and gluten-free desserts in restaurants, nevermind vegan and gluten-free desserts involving ice cream, I tend to wait until I get home to create an ice cream creation for myself. I have featured many such concoctions here on the blog, and they usually include some kind of baked good from my vegan/gluten-free freezer dessert stash, topped with coconut or almond milk ice cream purchased from Whole Foods and dark chocolate chips. Rawtella may make an appearance in these bowls too, depending on how indulgent I want to be.
I do miss ordering big, nasty desserts in restaurants. I used to be the queen of cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, the pizookie from Uno’s, and loaded brownie sundaes from whatever restaurant I could find them at. I never had a dinner out without also ordering a sweet treat to end the meal. Now, I have to for the most part eschew restaurant desserts and do the best I can to replicate sinful desserts that are vegan and gluten-free at home.
On Saturday, when my husband and I went up to Cambridge for his reunion, I knew we were going out for dinner and then hitting up the actual event. I decided to do a little vegan dessert investigation because Cambridge is pretty well-known for being a vegan-friendly place given its diverse student population. I wasn’t sure if we would even have time for dessert, but I wanted to be prepared in case we did!
In my Google searches for vegan ice cream in Harvard Square, I was delighted to find two ice cream shops that offer vegan and gluten-free ice cream options! Lizzy’s and J.P. Licks, both which are popular spots well-regarded for making their own ice creams, make it clear on their websites that vegan ice cream is available! I told my husband if we had time after the reunion and were able to get to one of those places before they closed, I would really like to try one of them. It’s so rare to find vegan ice cream served in an ice cream shop, so I kept my fingers crossed that circumstances worked in my favor.
Happily, they did! We left the reunion at 11:22 exactly! Lizzy’s was closed, but J.P. Licks was open till midnight, which was perfect since it was only a short walk from where we parked. I was so excited to finally be able to buy vegan ice cream in a shop along with the less dietary-restricted masses! I was also a tiny bit nervous too– I was afraid I would go in only to find either they didn’t really have vegan ice cream or that they were out of it, since it is a really busy place and it was the end of their night.
I’ll cut to the chase– loud and clear, written in chalk on their blackboard menu, were three vegan ice cream options! J.P. Licks offered soy-based chocolate fudge, chai, and coffee lace flavored ice creams! Better yet, those flavors were fully in stock!
I ended up ordering two scoops– one of the soy chai and one of the soy coffee lace (the lace is just chocolate that is marbled throughout the coffee ice cream).
I know sometimes I sound like every food I try and describe on the blog is amazing, but I promise you when I say I like something I really do. So let me tell you then that I liked this ice cream– a lot. In fact, I loved it. Even more, I think I just may be a wee bit obsessed. Only second to the ice cream at Lula’s Sweet Apothecary in New York City, J.P. Licks vegan ice cream is hands-down the best vegan ice cream I have ever had!
The soy chai blew me away– the ice cream was creamy and thick and the soy flavor was perfectly balanced as it wasn’t too strong or too weak. The coffee lace was equally divine in flavor and texture. I am going to venture to say that this ice cream was so rich, if you told me it was fine Italian gelato made of whole milk, I would believe you in a heartbeat. Since I like my ice cream to be as decadent as possible (I just say no to sorbets!), this ice cream made me swoon. Every bite came with a squeal of contentment.
What was also wonderful about it was that despite the fact it was very rich, it sat so well in my stomach ! It didn’t give me a stomachache or weigh me down, as ice cream can sometimes do to me. My tummy agreed with it just as much as my tastebuds did!
Now, I just have to find where I can get vegan ice cream in an ice cream shop in Rhode Island. I know there’s the vegan ice cream truck Like No Udder in Providence, which I cannot wait to track down and try, but I wonder if any actual ice cream shops offer vegan ice cream? I need to do some research I guess!
What type of ice cream do you like the best? Dairy or non-dairy? Fruity, chocolately or vanilla-y? Smooth or full of chunks?