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Everything You Need to Know About Vegan Ice Cream

People go vegan for all sorts of reasons. Some take the plunge for environmental reasons – to lessen their carbon footprints and emissions. Others make the decision for ethical reasons or personal health. But no one – no one – goes vegan so they can stop eating ice cream. 

Ice cream is a universal, fundamental joy. On a hot day, few things are more comforting and relieving than a stacked ice cream cone. And on a cold day, there are few greater pleasures than snuggling up to a binge-worthy show with a cup of ice cream. While vegans of past generations had to watch enviously as their peers enjoyed a summer cone or winter bowl, modern vegans can partake in the joy without worrying about breaking their lifestyle. 

In this post, let’s explore everything you need to know about vegan ice cream. What is it? How do they make it? Is it any good? And where can you find vegan ice cream in Toronto? Here’s the inside scoop (pardon the pun). 

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What Is Vegan Ice Cream?

Do you want the short answer or the long answer? The short answer is: vegan ice cream is any cold iced treat that doesn’t use animal by-products (dairy, eggs, honey) in its recipe. 

The slightly longer answer is that vegan ice cream comes in several forms. Some companies use alternative vegan milks to create their confections. Others use plant-based fat solids to replicate the unctuous flavours of ice cream. And still others take a cue from the rich Italian tradition of sorbetto production. 

How Artisan Ice Cream Makers Work Around Dairy

Depending on the type of vegan ice cream, craft producers will use a few different strategies. As mentioned, some craft ice cream makers will attempt to replicate the rich flavour of non-vegan ice cream by using dairy substitutes like: 

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• Coconut milk or coconut cream

• Oat milk

• Almond milk

• Nut butters

• And in some cases, soy milk

Vegan ice creams made with the ingredients above are great, but they exclude several vegans with nut or soy allergies. Besides, they can be heavy. That’s why many vegans prefer sorbettos, an Italian approach to ice cream that nixes the cream (or cream substitutes) altogether. Sorbettos rely instead on real, fresh fruit as a base – with the natural pectin, fibres and sugars forming that hallmark viscosity we enjoy in an ice cream.

Where to Enjoy Vegan Ice Cream

Most supermarkets stock a few vegan options, but your mileage will vary. Some mass-produced vegan ice creams rely on corn syrup and unhealthy fats, resulting in a treat that – while vegan – isn’t as satisfying or wholesome as it could be. 

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If you find yourself in Toronto, consider checking out Scooped by Demetres, an ice cream restaurant chain that serves bold, innovative sorbetto options like mango passionfruit, watermelon basil and Campari citrus. They use real fruit juices and botanicals for a bespoke take on the Italian classic. Otherwise, shop for brands that use whole ingredients, few fillers and natural fats. 

If you’ve recently gone vegan – or if you’re a long-time vegan with a sweet tooth – hopefully, this article offers some food for thought. Don’t deny yourself the perfect summer treat. Join your friends for a scoop or two by trying vegan ice cream. 

Philip Okoye
the authorPhilip Okoye
Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at

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