Food for Thought:
Vegan ice cream
No longer an oddity, vegan ice cream is readily available and easy to make at home too!
By Penny Arsenault and Irwin Rapoport
June 29, 2023
“If we could live happy, healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?” For us at food for thought, we take this saying to heart, and it guides our choices. This column is all about eating in ways to live a happy, healthy life without harming others*.
Summer and ice cream – it’s a most perfect combination; the weather is hot, and the time is right for vegan ice cream and sorbets. We’ve discovered great Montreal locations for not only vegan ice cream and sorbet but delicious pastries, cakes and cookies. All the kindness is mixed right in.
You may think a column on sweet treats will be throwing some of our healthy priorities aside, but not in all cases.
Lu & I
5147 Parc Avenue
We visited Lu & I, a Parc Avenue vegan and gluten-free bakery, café and custom cake company, which proves you can have it both ways. Started by Carmen Rose and Emilia Jamieson in the thick of the pandemic, both gluten and lactose-intolerant women dreamed of a place where they could have their cake and eat it too, so to speak.
Emilia’s background was in vegan and gluten-free baking, and Carmen, always a fan of Emilia’s wonderful recipes, started doing a lot of baking herself during pandemic lockdowns. Home with her young daughter, she noticed a lack of healthy treats available for kids, finding all options full of sugar. She started to experiment using maple syrup, agave, or coconut sugar as an alternative to highly processed sweeteners, and almond or oat flour as flour alternatives.
Both women were ready for a new challenge, and had so much in common, each with active lifestyles and wellness as a priority. They created a partnership, the result of which is a charming bakery café (named after their respective daughters, Lumi and Ivy) with an amazing array of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and brownies. This summer, they’ve added soft-serve ice cream to the menu, in chocolate, vanilla or swirl – delicious, refreshing and reminiscent of our childhood summers. Lu & I make custom and speciality cakes with a 24-hour in-advance order.
Stop by their terrace to savour an excellent PS coffee (by the folks at Gia) and a sweet treat or a delicious veggie wrap snack. Coming this fall, more savoury items will be added to the menu.
You can also purchase Lu & I brownies, cookies and date squares at:
Dax Café, 1461 Van Horne
Toi & Moi Café, 244 Laurier O
Ma bicyclette café, 2727 Saint-Patrick
Gentile Café, 9299 Parc Avenue
And here is your guide to more dairy-free ice cream around town:
4864 Sherbrooke W
Starting locally, our very own Bilboquet Westmount has vegan chocolate ice cream and all their sorbets are fruit and water-based. We are happy to have them open again. Welcome back!
230 Rachel E
Crèmerie Swirl is a soft-serve takeout counter which uses nothing but good ingredients, according to its owner, Charles Deluvio.
What a find! All their soft-serve ice cream is vegan and made from scratch on-site. Among their popular flavours are coconut-mango, and Madagascan vanilla. Flavours change with the season, using fruits and Asian-inspired ingredients.
Swirl also hooked up with Stanpac and Evergreen for their eco-friendly sustainable packaging.
Patio Bar Laitier
836 Mount Royal E
Patio Bar Laitier in the Plateau has an extensive list of plant-based refreshments available.
– Five flavours of hard vegan ice creams
– Eight sorbets made in house
– Fourteen flavours of vegan milkshakes
– Fresh fruit juices
– Sorbet smoothies
– Oat and soy-based soft-serve ice cream with real fruits
– Vegan “Glizzards” (McFlurry style)
« En plein coeur du Plateau, avec notre terrasse côté soleil, l’incontournable des délices glacés à Montréal ! De tout pour tous, venez découvrir notre crémerie dans une atmosphère chaleureuse ! »
This friendly and busy East End parlour has a huge selection of hard and soft-serve ice cream, cakes, cold drinks, and coffees. Many vegan options among all their products. Very impressive and yummy!
Homemade ice cream
Making ice cream at home is not as difficult as you may think. It can be a fun activity to do with kids, with a delicious outcome. Try this first ultra simple two-ingredient one to get you started, and once you’ve tried it, you can add your own favourite flavours. Once you discover how easy it is, there is no end to what you’ll make!
Here are a couple of very worthwhile recipes to try, once again from Hannah Kaminsky at Bittersweet Blog.
“The only thing worse than suffering through a sweltering hot summer day without air conditioning is trying to survive those same conditions without any ice cream in the house. It’s entirely possible that one can make do without such convenient modern amenities that would help abate the heat, but only if generous amounts of frozen, creamy treats are kept close at hand. Ice cream makes even chilly days more bearable, so going without a single tub of the cool confection is tantamount to criminal insanity.”
“For those with limited equipment and limited patience, there have been few solutions to this conundrum outside of an impromptu grocery trip. Thankfully, non-dairy alternatives are no longer the anomaly in mainstream markets, although homemade ice cream will still beat out anything pre-packaged any day of the week.”
Once you’ve gotten obsessed with homemade ice cream, there are many websites to peruse!
It should be a hot summer and a long one. See you around these fine parlours and bakeries soon!
If you have a favourite dairy-free ice cream place or a go-to recipe for one, feel free to share. Enjoy!
* This column is also a handy reference for the lactose intolerant.
Feature image: JÉSHOOTS – Pexels
A figure skating coach and ballet dancer, Penny Arsenault is a friend to cats, dogs, and all animals, dedicated to fitness and nutrition, and tireless in her optimistic pursuit of the improvement of urban gardens, and preservation of wild spaces.
Irwin Rapoport is a freelance journalist with Bachelor degrees in History and Political Science from Concordia University.