I’ve never been a huge ice cream fan. Unlike my childhood friends, I rarely chased after the ice cream truck and unlike my college friends, I bailed on day 3 of our Roman gelato expedition (sorry!). Ice cream was nothing more than a molten chocolate cake compliment as far as I was concerned and didn’t hold a candle to Tiramisu.
If your feelings toward icecream sound similar to the above, Van Leeuwen just might change your mind. Launched in 2008 by New York entrepreneur and ice cream connoisseur Benjamin Van Leeuwen, these sunny lemon trucks deliver artisan ice cream to the masses. Van Leeuwen’s ice cream is made from organic, locally sourced ingredients including fresh cream, fresh milk, sugar and egg yolks. The manufacturing process abstains from preservatives and thickeners like condensed milk and corn syrup, emphasizing tradition rather than efficiency.
Another differentiating aspect of Van Leeuwen is its menu. Exceedingly simple, the 12 flavor offering represents seasonal ingredients and is neatly presented through hand painted herbs and spices. We chose a scoop each of Earl Grey Tea and Ginger – yum! The Earl Grey was delicate but complex and left a fantastic aftertaste of bergamot. The Ginger, in contrast, was unmistakably bold and masterfully combined the sharp tanginess of ginger tea with the sweetness of crystallized ginger.
I rarely get to the bottom of these giant ice cream cups, but the lightness and flavor of Van Leeuwen’s is hard to resist. If you haven’t already, go check it out. The trucks are usually parked in central NoHo, SoHo and the West Village and there’s usually one uptown near 60th and Madison; follow @VLAIC on Twitter for location updates. At $5.75 for a medium-sized biodegradable cup, Van Leeuwen’s doesn’t come cheap, but it is soo worth it 🙂