Today’s shout out goes to my favorite new discovery of the week, Steve’s Ice Cream.
But first, I must provide a bit of a back story. I am extremely lucky that my family, for the most part, honors & supports me in my ethical & dietary choices. For one, my Mom pretty much raised me vegetarian, & I always love to share that she worked at a (now defunct, unfortunately) vegetarian Italian restaurant called “Rocco’s” when I was little. When I became vegan, she “mostly” followed suit (hasn’t quite quit the cheese, but she does her best) with little coercion from me. I also feel fortunate that my Grandparents, whom I am very close to & spend most of my holidays with, are supportive as well. While I cannot expect that my Grandfather will give up his annual laboring over a Thanksgiving turkey in favor of Tofurky, I can most certainly expect his horrified recounting of the time he accidentally slathered his turkey with the Tofurky gravy! At least he laughs about it now, lovingly. While my Mom & I love to cook, we often bring a vegan main & some sides to share, yet, we can always be assured that my Grandmother will take great care in making vegan options for us as well.
I can also always take comfort in knowing that the fridge will be stocked with a few vegan essentials such as Earth Balance, Vegenaise, non-dairy milk, & sometimes Veggie Slices orDaiya. And while I would love to spend the holidays without plates of dead flesh & oppression being passed around the table, this is my family. They respect my ethical choices, & therefore, I respect where they are on their journey, so I do not push my views on to them. While I no longer allow such things in MY home, I make it a point to not judge, demand or protest when I am a guest in someone else’s home. When they come to me with questions, or ask for recipes or product recommendations, I am always happy to engage in the conversation, & always so thrilled to see when I positively influence them with my gentle activism. Truth be told, my dear Grandpa, who loves nothing more than my Mom’s famous (dairy-laden) cheesecake, absolutely marveled about the raw vegan cheesecake I made for Christmas. Of course, after I assured him that it contained “no tofu!” Getting Grandpa’s seal of approval is golden, & seeing him enjoy a “raw vegan cheesecake” with a smile on his face brings me such joy…on so many levels! And so I digress, what was to be a love note to Steve’s Ice Cream, is now turning to one for my sweet Grandparents, but I assure you, it is all connected.
As I mentioned, I can always expect to find many vegan alternatives to milk, butter, mayo, & sometimes cheese, in their fridge. What was not expected was what Grandma pulled out of the freezer on her birthday. Steve’s Ice Cream. Steve’s vegan & soy free “Cold Brewed Cinnamon Coffee Ice Cream,” to be precise. And I’d never even heard of this! How did Grandma discover something I didn’t know about? So I asked her, “oh, wow did you get this for me?” And she replied, “no, actually, I got this for me, but your’e welcome to try it.” How much do you love Grandma right now? Lucky for me, & Mom, Grandma let us into her stash. OMG. I could’ve eaten the entire carton & that is a needless indulgence that I gave up long ago. But oh my. It brought me back to my favorite Mexican style coffee that is served at Ranchos Cocina, it dons just that hint of cinnamon goodness make it that much more special. Coffee flavored ice cream was my favorite in my pre dairy-fee days, & I honestly cannot recall ever finding a vegan coffee ice cream prior to this – & to pair that with cinnamon. I want this every day! I want a scoop in my Mexican coffee! Imagine the possibilities – vegan coffee ice cream cake, cold brew & coffee ice cream floats for when you really need a jolt, or just sitting on the couch with a carton & spoon shamelessly watching The Bachelor.
So lets learn a bit more about this stuff, shall we?
“Back in 1973, when we started making small-batch ice cream, there was nothing else like Steve’s. It was a big world with no room for little guys like us, but we had a hunch that customers were hungry for handcrafted ice cream with innovative “mix-ins” like Heath Bar Crunch. Fortunately for taste buds everywhere, we were right. Our little shop became famous for its legendary lines of passionate fans that formed even during snowstorms, & “mix-ins” have been an ice cream standard ever since.
Our current owner, David Stein, worked at one of the original Steve’s Ice Cream shops, so he understands that flavor revolutions really do start in small batches. Back then, David was just a college student with a summer job. But as time went on, memories of Steve’s – the close community of regulars & the thrill of creating a truly original & delicious new flavor– stayed with him. So when he was given the opportunity to take over & rebuild the Steve’s brand nearly forty years later, he jumped at the chance.
He moved us to Brooklyn, the new frontier of food, & we’ve been cranking out our best ice creams, non-dairy ice creams, & sorbets yet. We still use “mix-ins” but now they’re a little more grown-up, with fresh, natural ingredients, & to create our signature flavors, we work directly with some of the most innovative and inspired artisans around. It took a while, but small-batch has finally gone big time. And that’s pretty sweet.”
You may wonder why I chose to feature a non-vegan company here. Well, truth be told, by the nature of the goodness of their product, I just assumed they were. I’d already had it in my mind that this would be the topic of my love note, as this sweet treat was seriously on my mind…all week. It wasn’t until I did my homework for this feature that I realized they have dairy based ice cream as well. However, I appreciate that they have modernized their company over the years & kept up with the changing times. There is a much higher demand these days for vegan products – food, fashion & the like, but not all companies are heading the call. But when they do, I think it’s important to support them. I believe that the more we make our voices heard, vote with our pocketbooks & show companies there is a market for vegan goods, the more vegan goods we shall receive.
That being said, currently, Steve’s “non-dairy” collection consists of four flavors: “Cinnamon Coffee” (my beloved), “Mint Cacao Chip” (yes, please!), “Scotch Chocolate” (seriously?), & “Blackberry Honey” (dairy-free, but not vegan, obvs.) Oh & did I mention that in addition to being labelled vegan (except for the one) they are also gluten-free? So the burring question is…how do you get some? Just search “find us” on their webpage, & see if you’re lucky enough to have a “supplier” near you. And if you’re here in San Diego, it’s available at Baron’s Market.
So seriously, what are you waiting for? Get your stretchy pants on, turn on something sappy on Netflix & go wild on this stuff! And while you’re at it, will you pick up a carton for me?
image sources: stevesicecream.com