Matcha and vegan ice cream fans — you’re going to want to brace yourselves for this one. Spring is upon us, which means new seasonal flavors at the ever-popular ice cream shop Van Leeuwen were just released on Friday, March 29. For one of these flavors, Van Leeuwen has teamed up with the matcha mecca MatchaBar to create the limited-edition Vegan Green Planet: a non-dairy, vegan flavor available now at all 16 Van Leeuwen locations in NYC and LA.
Coinciding with the grand opening of Van Leeuwen’s newest location at Hudson Yards in mid-March, Vegan Green Planet was released early as a sneak peek of their spring flavors. If you’re interested in exploring the new Hudson Yards, you can pick up a scoop of creamy matcha in a bowl, waffle cone, milkshake, or cookie sandwich on level three of NYC’s newest real estate development.
The unique flavor features a vegan matcha green tea ice cream base with housemade blue spirulina almond cake folded throughout (contains gluten). Van Leeuwen’s signature vegan base is made in small batches in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with housemade raw cashew milk, coconut cream, raw organic coconut oil, pure cocoa butter, and organic cane sugar. And this particular base is blended with shade-grown, ceremonial-grade matcha from MatchaBar, which is sourced from family-owned farms in Kagoshima, Japan.
As the demand for “functional” vegan flavors of high-quality ice cream such as activated charcoal, turmeric (or “golden milk”), CBD, and, yes, matcha has never been higher, Van Leeuwen’s decision to team up with MatchaBar is well-timed. The collab also stemmed from their shared philosophy of sourcing locally and from purveyors around the world with the highest quality ingredients possible.
“MatchaBar’s ceremonial grade matcha green tea is phenomenal and it’s an excellent complement to our premium ice cream,” said Ellie Zitsman, head of R&D at Van Leeuwen. “We understand that health and well-being [are] important to many of our guests, so it’s really special when we’re able to incorporate healthy trends that also happen to be delicious.”
In addition to Vegan Green Planet, another vegan variety was released store-wide on Friday: Vegan PB&J Bon Bon, made with crunchy housemade dark chocolate peanut butter bonbons and raspberry swirl jam. It’s the crowning piece to any chocolate-lover’s waffle cone.
The Van Leeuwen x MatchaBar collab won’t be the last we see from the vegan-friendly ice cream shop. According to Zitsman, the Van Leeuwen kitchen has been busy and several fun collaborations are in the works. Stay tuned for more exciting seasonal specials, but until then, you can pick up Vegan Green Planet and the other spring 2019 flavors at Van Leeuwen shops now through May 7.