Vegan Grand Rapids Guide to Non-Dairy Ice CreamPosted by Jon and Kolene on May 30, 2015 in News | 12 comments
Did you know that 75% of the world’s population suffers from lactose intolerance? That statistic, combined with the millions of Americans kicking dairy to the curb because of ethical and health concerns, has ice cream shops stepping up in a big way to meet the demand. We’re not talking about sugary sorbets or fruit based slushies either. Some ice cream shops in Grand Rapids are serving up some seriously creamy vegan ice creams to help beat the summer heat (not that we’ve avoided the stuff in the middle of winter either!).
Here are the (non-dairy) cream of the crop.
Love’s Ice Cream – We’ve said it before and we stand behind it: Love’s Ice Cream makes the best ice cream, dairy or not, that we’ve ever had. Located inside the Downtown Market, Love’s creates small batches of artisan ice cream by hand. Everything at Love’s is made with quality ingredients that are local, healthy, and organic whenever possible. For instance, one of our favorites, the Cinnamon Roasted Nut is made with a combination of cashew and almond milk that they make on site. There are usually 3-4 vegan flavors at any given time. You won’t find boring flavors at Love’s. Some others favorites include the Coconut Chip, Cherry Amaretto and Rosewater Cardamom gelato. They also have chocolate covered Michigan shaped pops!
Furniture City Creamery – Furniture City Creamery is located in the beautiful, walkable Cherry Hill shopping district. Everything is made from scratch using carefully crafted recipes in small batches. Furniture City Creamery also has something we’ve found at no other local ice cream shop – vegan waffle cones! All the toppings at Furniture City are also vegan, including the caramel and chocolate sauces. This wasn’t by accident. The owners want everyone to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor equally! There are usually 2-4 vegan flavors at anytime, like Salted Caramel, No-Bake Cookie, Mint Chocolate Chip, or the ever popular Peanuts and Cracker Jack Porter (made with beer from The Mitten Brewing). Furniture City also has vegan baked goods you can take home or toss in a bowl and serve your ice cream on!
Jersey Junction – Jersey Junction has been an icon in East Grand Rapids for over 50 years. When you enter, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There’s a large ice cream counter and walls full of candy. Even though the atmosphere will conjure up those nostalgic feelings, they’re progressive enough to know that they need to cater to those wanting dairy-free ice cream. When their 2015 season began, they proudly started displaying large and prominent signs declaring their vegan offerings. Behind the ice cream counter, you should be able to find 3-4 choices, like strawberry, chocolate or coconut. They also carry So Delicious Ice Cream bars in the freezer section!
Frosty Boy – We have to be honest , we haven’t made it in to Frosty Boy yet, but we wanted to include them. The shop was just taken over by new owners to kick off the 2015 season, and they made sure to include dairy-free options. They are carrying vegan soft and hard ice cream made by Palazzolo’s out of Fennville. Soft serve option are chocolate, vanilla, and twist. The hard serve option are strawberry and mint chocolate chip. All of their cones are vegan (except the GF one which contains egg).
Spoonlickers Frozen Yogurt – Spoonlickers has several locations and each one has a couple vegan flavors at any given time. They offer vegan froyo flavors that use a coconut milk base, along with their signature in-house made toppings. There are fresh fruits, nuts, sauces and candies. Every vegan is labelled making it easy to identify which are safe. The Eastown location also carries vegan ice cream pies in the freezer section!
If you can’t make it into one of these specialty ice cream shops, you might still be in luck. Popularized by Disneyland, Dole Whip is a flavored soft serve non-dairy ice cream served at many ice cream stands around the country and is also available here in Grand Rapids. The original favorite flavor, pineapple, is still served today at the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. Since then, pineapple has been joined by strawberry, mango, orange and raspberry and quite a lot of ice cream stands offer it.
There has been some question about its vegan-ness over the years. Some sources say it contains sodium caseinate, a milk derivative but they’re out of date! The formula was changed in the last couple of years to make all the fruit flavors fully vegan. You can check out the ingredient list on the manufacturer’s (Precision Foods) website. Hey, we never said it was healthy, just that it was vegan.
Next time you find yourself at an unfamiliar ice cream shop, be sure to look for it! It’s one of our favorites!