Van Leeuwen ice cream delights with funky natural flavors

BY GABE HERMAN | Lower Manhattan’s classic bakeries continue to disappear, the latest victim being Moishe’s Bake Shop in the East Village. But at least the artisanal ice cream industry, for one, seems to be thriving.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream has several locations in and around the Village. A recent addition is at 61 W. Houston St., between Greene and Wooster Sts., just a block from Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, at 88 W. Houston St.

There seems to be a great demand for such high-quality, custom ice creams in the area, as these businesses seem to be thriving even through the winter months.

Van Leeuwen cookie sandwiches. (Instagram/vanleeuwenicecream)

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream started out of a truck, serving scoops beginning in 2008. All of the ice cream is made from scratch in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

“We set out to revive the classic American ice cream truck and the art of traditional ice cream making using ingredients perfected by nature, not science,” its Web site says.

Its traditional ice cream is made with fresh milk and cream, cane sugar and egg yolks. Its vegan ice cream includes homemade cashew milk, coconut milk, extra virgin coconut oil, cane sugar, cocoa butter and carob bean.

Vegan flavors include Cherry Heartbeet, with elderflower and orange blossom-infused angel food cake pieces; and Chocolate Citrus Cake, which is gluten-free and has citrus jam sandwiched between housemade sponge cake pieces.

Non-vegan flavors include Chai Sticky Toffee Pudding, with chai-infused date cake and chai toffee swirls; and Mocha Cookie Crumble, with sugar cookies and fudge swirls. A small scoop in a cup or cone goes for $4.50, while a large is $6.50 and a pint is $8.50.

Vegan cookies and cream caramel swirl. (Instagram/vanleeuwenicecream)

There is also a cookie sandwich, in which a scoop of any flavor is sandwiched between housemade vegan chocolate chip cookies, for $8.50. The menu also offers sundaes, a banana split, a root beer float and espresso drinks.

Van Leeuwen is quite popular with online reviewers, with the 61 Houston St. location, which opened mid-2018, having five stars on Yelp.

“The ice cream here is legit!” one woman wrote. “Old school and delicious real cream. The vegan flavors were especially good. I loved the coconut flavor in the vegan ice cream.”

“How good is this place?” another poster wrote. “Their chocolate shakes cost over $8 each. During a four-day trip to New York City, I had 3 of their chocolate shakes. That’s $24 on shakes. This place is THAT good.”

The shop is tiny and has no seats, just a counter by the window at which to stand. Other nearby Van Leeuwen locations include 152 W. 10th St. in the West Village; 48 E. Seventh St. in the East Village; and 172 Ludlow St. on the Lower East Side. More information can be found at vanleeuwenicecream.com/.

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