Gone are the days when ice cream was off-limits for anyone with dietary requirements or those trying to be healthy. While supermarkets are stocking all sorts of vegan-friendly or low-calorie ice cream alternatives, there are a number of specialist ice cream parlours in London selling innovative sorbets, specialist sundaes and dairy-free desserts. Rosie rounds up the best.
DÁPPA’s mission is to redefine ice cream. Luxuriously crafted from a signature blend of almonds and cashews, their thick, rich and outrageously creamy soft serve is an all-natural, vegan-friendly dessert that has developed a cult following on Instagram. A scroll through their feed will have you salivating over their creations, which can be topped with cacao fudge sauce, salted nut crumble and 70% cacao dark chocolate shavings – or a shot of coffee for their infamous ‘Daffogato’. Their unique ‘Triple C’ waffle cones are made with cinnamon, chia seed and charcoal, produced to a bespoke recipe by the Antonelli Brothers – the first and now only UK maker of waffle cones. In the words of co founder Ollie Jones, “Every ice cream we sell is a step towards a more sustainable future.” Is that an excuse for us to eat more?!
Snowflake is renowned for its luxury gelato, but has introduced a new healthier item to its menu: the Avolato, a treat that consists of a smooth and creamy avocado gelato served in two avocado half shells complete with an avocado stone made from a peanut butter-flavoured superfood gelato. Entirely natural and plant-based and gluten free, it is made by combing 60% fresh avocado with a homemade grape sugar-based syrup, which gives the dessert a subtle sweetness. Once mixed, the Avolato is allowed to set in scooped out avocado shells before a ‘stone’ that is made from a peanut butter-flavoured gelato that contains flaxseed, almond, Brazil nut, walnut and co-enzyme Q10 is added. Made using soya milk, the peanut butter gelato flavour balances well with the not-too-sweet avocado gelato and ups the nutritional properties of the already naturally protein rich dessert.
Yorica! creates delicious free-from ice cream, soft serve, shakes, crepes and waffles served from its Wardour Street store as well as to buy from Waitrose and Ocado. All of its recipes and ingredients are free from all 14 major allergens, and the brand is Vegan Society registered, which means that you can enjoy delicious treats like chocolate and caramel soft serve and hazelNOT ice cream without any worry.
Chin Chin pioneered the use of liquid nitrogen to make ice cream in a retail setting when it opened its first ice cream ‘lab’ in Camden Lock in 2010. Its founders were convinced that hand churning with liquid nitrogen was better than any other method, and they had stumbled on the future of ice cream. Nowadays, the company has grown to three locations and over 300 innovative flavours, from sweetcorn to wild blueberry to coffee and olive oil. Toppings include vegan ‘crack’ and bee pollen honeycomb, while their desserts – such as tiramisu sundae and popcorn tacos – have won numerous awards.
Matcha and Beyond, a matcha and coffee bar on the King’s Road, has launched new vegan matcha soft serve ice cream alongside its usual menu of matcha-inspired healthy treats such as green velvet cake and coco matcha macaroons. It’s made with organic rice milk and agave syrup, therefore contains no refined sugar. Choose either matcha, vanilla or matcha and vanilla swirl and add in-house made toppings or fruit, or opt for a healthy swirl alongside their heavenly spelt, coconut and matcha bread.
Fortnum & Mason’s award-winning ice cream destination within the flagship store in Piccadilly has added a range of vegan sundaes, sorbets and floats to its menu. The vegan stacked sundae of coconut chocolate chip and vanilla vegan ice cream, chocolate sauce, coconut shavings, chocolate ganache and coconut whipped cream is divine, or you can’t go wrong with the classic banana split made with vegan ingredients.
Gelupo’s mission is to deliver the finest ice cream this side of the Alps to appreciative Londoners. Unusually for a gelateria, however, the selection of sorbets is as extensive as their ice cream menu – and includes special summer flavours such as Hendricks and cucumber. We love their apricot and strawberry and pink pepper sorbets, and the fact that their chocolate gelato is a sorbet, not because they wanted to make a low fat ice cream, but because as a sorbet it can be made even more chocolatey – we wholeheartedly approve!
Main photo: Matcha and Beyond
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After graduating from Cambridge University with a triple First, Rosie decided to pursue a career in the fitness industry rather than follow the traditional path of her peers in investment banking. Unable to shake off the fast-paced routine she developed in her City job, she achieves balance by winding down in yoga sessions, escaping on fitness retreats, and going for extended brunches that somehow seem to wind up in a hidden gem of a cocktail bar.