Wellpicks: Vancouver’s best dairy-free ice cream
In celebration of yesterday's #nationalicecreamday, I wanted to share my favourite spots in Vancouver to get dairy-free ice cream. While many people don't have problems with dairy, for those that do, ice cream can be particularly hard on digestion. Always on the hunt for great alternatives, finding options for ice cream has been one of my favourite challenges. Whether coconut milk or cashew based, it seems ice cream shops and restaurants are really starting to figure out how to make ice cream you would never know is dairy-free. Here are my favourites.
Friendly Snack Bar
Friendly is a great new little plant-based and gluten-free snack bar at Main and Broadway started by the owners of The Wallflower/Smallflower, Zimt Chocolates and vegan ice cream truck, Say Hello Sweets. Their ice cream flavours continuously rotate, but so far I've tried their banana walnut, strawberry and lime coconut-based ice creams, and they are unreal. All their ice creams are also available in gluten-free waffle cones, and to take away in a pint.
Earnest Ice Cream
When I first moved to Vancouver and tried Earnest Ice Cream's (regular dairy) chocolate and salted caramel ice creams, I was convinced it was the best ice cream I'd ever had in my life. So when I went back and tried their dairy-free chocolate ice cream, and found it was just as good, I was pretty excited. Their dairy-free flavours are also rotated, so while you don't know what you're going to get when you walk in, so far I have not been disappointed.
I love Virtuous Pie for so many reasons, but mostly because they took two of my favourite things, pizza and ice cream, and came up with a way to make them dairy-free. Instead of a coconut base, Virtuous Pie uses cashews for their ice cream, serving select flavours each day, but also offering take-home pints. This is not your average ice cream - their flavours include Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Coffee + Donuts, and Charcoal Banana Coconut. Imagine going for pizza and ice cream and not feeling sick or bloated after you eat? Well this is now totally possible.
Rain or Shine
While Rain or Shine typically only serves one dairy-free option at a time, it's usually some delicious variation of chocolate coconut something, and that works for me. They're also pretty inventive with their seasonal ingredients, and offer a pretty great sundae (complete with dairy-free chocolate sauce). If you want to skip the line, I find the location on Cambie is often way less crowded than the one in Kits, which often has lines down the block.
Hey Kokomo is a new "plant-focused" cafe that recently opened in Chinatown. What I'm most excited about is that they are the first place in Canada to serve Coco Whip, a vegan, creamy soft-serve ice cream, made with coconut water, vegetable probiotics and no refined sugar. Right now they are only open during the day, but are a great place to escape to on your lunch break or on a Saturday afternoon.