Last week I was trapped in the San Fernando Valley during a heat wave, and I did what any sane person would do: I got ice cream. But this isn’t so easy for us lactose-intolerant folks. The options for us are usually very slim.
I looked up “vegan ice cream” on Yelp and found Paradis Handcrafted Ice Cream in Sherman Oaks. A look at their menu made it instantly clear that this place has more interesting vegan options than most ice cream shops. (One nitpicky point: I wish they separated their vegan flavors from the dairy ones on the menu.)
On the day I visited, the three vegan flavors were strawberry sorbet, elderflower sorbet, and peanut butter coconut cream caramel chocolate chip. The strawberry is a constant, but the other two vegan flavors change daily.
I love the taste of elderflower, but this sorbet is a little too subtle for me. The peanut butter coconut cream caramel chocolate chip is better; it reminds me of Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy P.B. & Cookies.
But the best vegan flavor was the strawberry sorbet. It’s smooth, creamy and fluffy — not dense, icy or overly sweet. (Actually, none of their ice creams is too sweet, which earns Paradis five stars in my book). There are bits of real strawberries mixed in, but they aren’t big enough to interrupt the smooth texture.
Simply put, it tastes like real strawberry ice cream.
Full disclosure: I was a bad girl and sampled a spoonful of the Afternoon Tea ice cream, even though it contains dairy. I’m sorry to report that it is absolutely delicious. It’s like having a cup of Earl Grey and a tea biscuit… in ice cream form. I pleaded with the guy behind the counter to tell the powers-that-be to make a dairy-free version of it.
You can check Paradis’s Facebook page to see each day’s flavors. A soon as they have Grandma Margaret’s Apple Cinnamon Pie Sorbet, I’m making a special trip to Sherman Oaks.
PARADIS HANDCRAFTED ICE CREAM, 14512 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403