Ice cream and gelato are hugely popular all over the world, especially in the warmer months of the year. So while there is often an excess of dairy-based ice cream in most places we visit, it has been challenging to find vegan ice cream alternatives beyond the standard sorbet options. I’m not a huge ice cream person, but every now and again I experience F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out) and want to partake in the ice cream fest.
I had read about Vegelateria prior to our arrival in Zurich. With just two full days to explore the city, I put Vegelateria at the top of our list…in addition to checking out Hiltl and Tibits for some delicious vegetarian and vegan food. Vegelateria is located on a quiet side street about a ten minute walk from the main train station. The café has a hot and cold vegan buffet, but most people seemed to flock to Vegelateria for the ice cream, or “vegelato,” as the owners call it. With over 20 flavors of organic plant-based ice cream, it’s the kind of place where you want to try a small sample of every flavor!
We enjoyed two scoops, one of spirulina and one of lemon-ginger. The “vegelato” was incredibly smooth and creamy. While spurilina ice cream might not be for everyone, I throughly enjoyed the more earthy tasting bright green ice cream. Spurilina is a natural algae that is nutrient-rich and high in protein. The lemon-ginger was perfectly balanced without tasting too tangy or too gingery. Perfection in a bowl!
We have come across a few other 100% plant-based ice creams around the world. Here is the short list:
For packaged plant-based ice creams in the U.S., I am a big fan of Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss. The Ginger Cookie Caramel is my top pick, though the Salted Caramel and Chocolate is a close contender!
In New Zealand, Nice Cream makes a delightful coconut-based ice cream. Look for the bright orange freezers in grocery stores and local markets.
In Belgium, we discovered Professor Grunschnabel’s ice creams at Greenway, a vegetarian café with locations in Ghent and Leuven. All of Professor Grunschnabel’s ice creams are vegan as well as gluten-free, soy-free and lactose-free. This Banana Bahiana was excellent. The ripe banana combined with vanilla, lime, and cinnamon made for a perfect (and unique!) combination of flavors.
Tokyo’s Lima Café makes its own rice-based vegan ice creams in individual portions for take-away. The golden sesame ice cream was smooth, creamy and full of that delicious, savory toasted sesame flavor. It was one of the best vegan ice creams we have come across in our travels.
Also in Tokyo, we found Mihane at the Natural House Aoyama Organic Market. The “sumigoromo” (black bean, kidney bean and black sesame) flavor was a refreshing change from the standard flavors. Mihane also has a shop in Toyko where they serve their 100% vegan and organic brown rice-based ice creams as well as a few vegan lunch items.
Lastly, the Singaporean grab-and-go café, Mr. Bean has soy-based, non-GMO soft-serve. We tried the green tea matcha in the chain’s Osaka location. I loved that it wasn’t too sweet, but the matcha flavor could have been a bit stronger.
Green Gourmet in Sydney has an impressive selection of non-GMO soy-based ice creams. The black sesame, green tea and earl grey-fig flavors were excellent. They had the creaminess of traditional ice cream without being overly sweet. All desserts are made in the bakery adjacent to the restaurant.
We’re in Italy at the moment and have been on the hunt for some yummy vegan gelato. I’ll be sure to report back on our findings very soon!