Writer Chloe Walden takes a look at the best dairy-free ice creams to feast on in summer 2021.
I love ice cream. There is no denying my love for the sweet, cold, creamy treat. But as someone who can’t (or shouldn’t) eat dairy, it’s more of unrequited love than one that can last forever…
Thanks to the rise in veganism and dairy-free alternatives, us dairy-free lot can rejoice, for there is now a whole world of choice above and beyond one or two token sorbets.
As summer (hopefully) approaches as we’re all released back into the world following months of lockdown, I’ve – selflessly, of course – tasted a selection of what’s on offer and rounded up my favourites to help you navigate through the summer season.
Cecily’s Coconut Ice Cream
I won’t deny it; as a kid, I hated coconut. Not a bounty bar would cross my lips nor a macaroon. I’ve got on board these days, so was certainly interested in trying the coconut plant-based range for Cecily’s (formerly coconuts organic).
Cecily’s has an incredible Seven Great Taste Awards under its belt. I tried the mint choc chip – a childhood fave – and it didn’t disappoint, with healthy-sized chocolate chips, a sweet mint flavour and that unmistakable green hue (from spirulina you’ll be happy to hear).
The Pure Caramel is a wonder too – gloriously sweet and very refreshing.
It’s organic, with Cornish soul, made with coconut cream, no refined sugar and suitable for vegans. The only thing I would say is while it’s certainly creamy, if you’re looking for a dairy-free ice cream that makes you think you’re not going vegan this probably isn’t for you as behind both flavours is the undeniable, but delicious, taste of coconut.
RRP, from £4.50, available online, Ocado, M&S, and other independent retailers.
Northern Bloc – which has reportedly gained a bit of a cult-like following in its hometown of Leeds – has created the only vegan ice cream mini tubs available in supermarkets. Perfect for those on-the-go ice cream cravings, picnics in the parks or walks on the beach. Or just for tucking into at home on the sofa – no judgement here.
Check out their new chocolate collection, which includes vegan Chocolate & Honeycomb with gorgeous honeycomb pieces, and the Chocolate Stracciatella, which is rich, indulgent and filled with chocolate flakes. Both have a really nice flavour overall, and a wonderful creamy taste and texture – it’s incredible that they’re plant-based.
Northern Bloc also has, of course, classic 500ml tubs. What’s more, last year, they became the first ice cream brand in the UK to launch fully biodegradable packaging on all of its 500ml tubs, replacing the plastic coating with a plant-based alternative.
RRP, £5.49 for four 100ml tubs and from £5.49 for 500ml tubs available in Ocado, Co-op, Waitrose, Morrisons and independent retailers.
Swoon opened its debut gelateria in Bristol in 2016 and has quickly gained a reputation for some of the best gelati and sorbetti around. This year, Swoon has launched a new vegan flavour, Bacio (chocolate with hazelnut).
Oh, my, goodness. When you open the tub the prettiness of the swirl makes you want to take your spoon and dive right in. You can taste the work that has gone in to create this ice cream; the team at Swoon use slower churning techniques to create creamier, smoother gelati and source the best hazelnuts from small farms in Piemonte. You can understand why they won an outstanding 22 stars at the Great Taste Awards.
This really is an alternative that doesn’t make you feel as though you’re missing out.
RRP, £5.95, from selected Waitrose stores.
Creams is the ultimate indulgence. Known for its flamboyant desserts and sweet treats, it has a vegan selection that is sure to satisfy.
Why just have ice cream, when you can have chocolate ice cream on top of a wonderfully thin crepe stuffed with fresh banana slices, a vegan chocolate sauce and chopped nuts. Or a freshly baked cookie dough topped with sliced strawberries, a vegan chocolate sauce and a vegan strawberry sorbet.
If it is ‘just’ ice cream you’re after, the mango sorbet is full of flavour and tastes wonderfully of mango sweet, rich mango (it’s also available as a mango sundae with sliced mango, a vegan mango sauce and coconut shavings). Or the chocolate sorbet is genuinely like biting into your favourite chocolate bar – again, also available as a sundae.
This will not be the last time I have desserts delivered for dinner…!
RRP, from £3.25 for ice cream scoops, or desserts RRP from £7.75, from Deliveroo.
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Chatting Food Contributor
Chloe has a passion for all things food and drink. Whether that’s getting stuck into cooking a new cuisine in the kitchen, dining out in a new London hot spot, or adding a new tipple to her drinks trolley, her life revolves around what’s next on the menu. On the weekend, you can often find her with a G&T in one hand, and a cookbook in the other.