As a rabid dairy lover I've never been a fan of vegan fake milk products. Honestly, if you offered me a soy-based ice cream, I'd sooner lick the floor of a health food store than have a sample (since IMHO that's what they taste like). But then these new nut- and coconut-based vegan ice creams started marching into the freezer section -- and I decided to reconsider my militant stand against non-dairy ice cream.
Surprise! They're actually scrumptious. Here are my favorite picks.
Purely Decadent Made With Coconut Milk is wonderfully creamy. Coconut milk appears to be the magic ingredient that gives frozen desserts the same texture and richness of real dairy ice cream. There's just one thing -- you'd better love the flavor of coconut or this is not going to work for you.
True, Organic Nectars Raw Agave Gelato is "raw" and dairy-, soy-, gluten-, refined sugars-, and trans fat-free (which all sounds so un-delicious) and the packaging doesn't exactly shout YUMMY FUN STUFF, but it's actually fantastically rich and decadent tasting. How? Cashews. Basically they puree the nuts into a perfectly smooth paste for the gelato base. It does remind me a wee bit of peanut butter, but I still think it's a total standout. If you're not a fan of coconut, this is a delectable option.
We can't keep Smooze in stock because my son loves it so much. This is another coconut-based frozen dessert, but there's just enough coconut to give it a bit of creaminess while not dominating the taste. Mango, guava, passion fruit, and pineapple juices and purees are the real stars of these frozen bars. I try not to think about the high carbon footprint (shipped all the way from Indonesia!).
Also in the hand-held department, So Delicious Minis are your classic ice cream sandwiches only made with coconut milk. Don't hate me for being a philistine, but I happen to think these are an improvement over the original.
Can we talk about the low fat/health claims for all of these, though? It's dessert. It's not supposed to be good for you. These will not help you lose weight or gain superpowers. They're just tasty treats that happen to be vegan.