Vegan ice cream brands are not new–there are plenty of companies making good stuff with all manner of milks, including oat, almond, soy, and coconut. Brave Robot, in partnership with Perfect Day Foods, utilizes a non-animal whey protein that Perfect Day created through brewing microflora (like yeast) with plant sugars. Added to a coconut oil base, it is a new kind of vegan ice cream that relies on a fermentation process (kind of like brewing beer) to make a new protein that behaves like whey. It is the “missing ingredient” when blended with non-dairy milks and oils, makes ice cream magic.
The Confusing Part
I am a food writer who lives a dairy-free life and I found the packaging confusing. Why does the label say it contains milk protein if the product is vegan? When I inquired about this seeming contradiction with the company, I was assured that yes, the product is vegan. But the FDA, government organization behind food product labeling laws, requires labeling allergens. Because of the non-animal whey’s identical molecular structure to whey protein from cow’s milk, Brave Robot’s packages must be labeled as “contains milk protein.” Look here for more info. I am not a scientist–and definitely not a molecular biologist– so I urge caution for anyone that has an intolerance or allergy to casein or lactose. Tread carefully!
How does it Taste?
With my kids along for this fun ride, I sampled an array of flavors: PB & Fudge, Blueberry Pie, Raspberry White Truffle, Buttery Pecan, Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk and A Lot of Chocolate. None have milk or cream–the primary fat is coconut oil–and the nutrition numbers pencil out about the same as dairy-based ice cream. That fat is essential for delicious ice cream.
BUT…this vegan ice cream brand is different
The added non-animal whey transforms the coconut oil, punching it up with a glossy, slide-across-the-tongue sensation that makes ice cream so irresistible. This ice cream behaved like “real” ice cream on the palate. The addition of fruits and chocolate made for a classic ice cream experience.
Next, I would like to try Vanilla.
And the Winner Is:
Christina: A Lot of Chocolate, Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk, Buttery Pecan. The chocolate is really chocolatey; I love anything with hazelnuts and chocolate that I can find vegan; and the praline flavor, even though it is vegan, is legit.
Niki (9): PB & Fudge, Blueberry Pie, Raspberry White Truffle
Lukas (12): Blueberry Pie, PB & Fudge, Buttery Pecan
*I received a free sample of this product.