Are you looking to get your vegan ice cream on this weekend (or every day!)? Then this post is for you.
Back when I first went vegan in 2004 ice cream options in Ottawa were scarce. There was a hard to find Tofutti option, and Rice Dream. I thought about getting an ice cream maker, but the truth is I’m just not that industrious. So, there were a few ice cream-less years. Things have changed a lot in 12 years!
Before too long So Delicious became available in Ottawa, and slowly but surely ice cream options began to expand. Today So Delicious makes ice cream out of coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk and soy milk (perhaps even more) and is widely available. They also make ice cream sandwiches and bars. Larry & Luna’s Coconut Bliss also arrived on the scene, offering decadent coconut milk based flavours. Ben & Jerry’s has launched vegan flavours in the US and it’s expected that Canada is next. These days Tofutti and Rice Dream are rarer, but overall vegan ice creams have never been easier to find.
The most wildly popular by the tub vegan ice cream in Ottawa is no doubt Oat and Mill. This locally produced ice cream is made from oats, and has a wild array of flavours. I’ve tried a few of them and they are on point. Oat and Mill sold cones at Ottawa Veg Fest and had a line up throughout the whole event. I managed to get mine before the doors even opened.
Unfortunately at this point Oat and Mill is only available by online ordering (with pick up points) and at the Carp and Westboro farmers markets on Saturday and at Lansdowne on Sunday… but I have reason to believe that is going to change!
The past couple of years have also seen the growth of vegan ice cream being available at ice cream shops and restaurants. Thimblecakes has led the way, offering by the pint or scoop coconut based ice cream out of its Centretown shop. It’s dairy free, gluten free, and nut and egg free, and made in small batches daily using seasonal local organic flavours as much as possible. It’s a special treat to be able to walk into a shop and walk out with vegan ice cream in a waffle cone.
In a very exciting development, Strawberry Blonde recently began offering vegan soft serve ice cream! It’s soy based, and free of gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts. So far they have offered strawberry and vanilla, and vanilla / coffee bean flavours. They are having some challenges with keeping it in stock though – it’s been so wildly popular that they keep selling out! Best to check their Facebook or to call ahead to avoid disappointment. Of course, even if they are out of soft serve, they still have plenty of delicious treats for you to enjoy.
Since it opened this spring, Little Jo Berry’s has also had ice cream options – they serve Oat and Mill. Milkshakes are on their regular menu, and sometimes sundaes are offered on special occasions. I recently enjoyed one:
There are a couple of new players to the ice cream game: Recently opened Moo Shu Ice Cream opened in Centretown in mid-July, and has a vegan chocolate ice cream option. Because it’s just opening they are struggling a bit with supply and demand, so it may be prudent to give them a bit of time to get up and running.
And it has been reported that Mantovani 1946 in the Byward Market (Murray Street) has gelato options that are not only vegan, but also aren’t fruit based. According to Camille Labchuk, “They have vegan gelato options that aren’t just fruit sorbets! Vanilla and tiramisu, plus more to come. I went in last night and they said consumer demand for the vegan gelato is so strong that they got cleaned out as soon as their vegan flavours arrived, so they’re ordering more and will expand the flavour options.” It may be best to call ahead to determine availability.
Many gelato spots in Ottawa have a vegan gelato or sorbet option – you can find one near you on the Vegan Eats Ottawa Guide.
I know that there are probably other one-off options that I don’t know about – if you know about them please share by posting a comment! What’s your favourite kind of vegan ice cream?
Get Pamela Tourigny’s no-fuss recipes when you sign up for the Vegan Eats Ottawa newsletter here. Pamela is an Ottawa-based expert on the topics of veganism and vegan advocacy, sustainability, and ethical consumerism. She also consults with business clients with their marketing, communications and public relations needs, and with restaurants on adapting their menus to introduce plant-based options.