Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Lately, Los Angeles has been going koo-koo for coconut, and I’m no exception.  New trendy truck in town, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, which highlights its coconut & cashew based vegan selection, lets me get my fix.  For those lactose intolerant ice cream connoisseurs out there, finding flavorsome ice cream (especially on-the-go) can be a tricky undertaking, but Van Leeuwean makes it easy.

 

They use just a handful of simple, pure ingredients, leaving no room for additives or artificial flavoring.  The truck’s regular menu features the expected classics as well as more delicate choices, like Earl Grey Tea and Ginger. I had a bite of the ginger and could immediately taste its familiar biting pinch layered into the extra creamy texture. It was strong in the best way, like a Spiced Mule… new flavor?

 

I was given the opportunity to speak with Chris Rosi, who embodied the charm and typical style of Van Leeuwen’s Brooklyn hometown, and got the scoop on their smooth, buttery flavors and move out West.

 

 

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ROAMING HUNGER

How and why did you decide to bring the truck from New York to LA?

 

CHRIS

“We knew it would do well in LA, I mean look at this weather”

 

ROAMING HUNGER

How long have you been in LA? How has business been so far?

 

CHRIS

“This is our 5th day out on the streets!” “So far, so good”

 

ROAMING HUNGER

That’s great! Welcome to the LA food truck community.  Where will customers typically be able to find you?

 

CHRIS

“We’ve been down to Venice Beach on the weekends, and that was really good, so we’ll probably be back there, and we just went to Silver Lake”

 

ROAMING HUNGER

Does this mean we might be seeing you at First Fridays in Venice?

 

CHRIS

“I think we’ll try to go to First Fridays but the whole scene is so different from New York. You can’t just go anywhere. Everyone has their own spot there; its not in pods like here… but we love to be where there’s the most people.”

 

ROAMING HUNGER

Can you tell me a little bit about the ingredients? As a lactose intolerant foodie, I love that you have vegan (non-dairy) options!

 

CHRIS

“Sure, our vegan ice cream is made with coconut milk, cashew milk, coconut oil, cane sugar, and cocoa butter which makes it really creamy. It makes it really special… all the ingredients sourced are the best they can find. There’s no additives or stabilizers, and I mean, the pistachios are actually handpicked from Italy. The ingredients are simple. Its part of what gives it that really nice buttercream flavor.”

 

ROAMING HUNGER

What would you say is your most popular flavor? What is your personal go-to?

 

CHRIS

“It might sound weird, but its actually vanilla. Vanilla and chocolate… my go-to flavor is mint-chip though”

 

ROAMING HUNGER

Do you have a “set menu” or do the flavors rotate at all?

 

CHRIS

We pretty much keep the staples here, but we usually will have a rotating flavor every month or so. Right now the special is the salted caramel.

 

Chris and I were joking about the artificially constructed Haagen-Dazs brand name and assured me that Van Leeuwen was the legitimate family name of the owners. And it is indeed a family-run venture.  Everything about this small truck with big flavors is extremely authentic.  And it shows in their product. Good value. Quality ice cream. Bold flavors.

 

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