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If people around the world had one favourite food, ice cream would be a close winner. With the plant-based trend in Sydney now in full swing and dairy and gluten intolerance more common than not, it’s no surprise that the city’s hot spots are boasting ice cream shops that offer non-dairy desserts. If it’s a hot summer day—and we all know Sydney is famous for its sweltering temperatures—cool off with our list of the best vegan ice cream spots nearby.
Chachas, a sister concept to ayurvedic eatery Nalinis—is an absolute Bondi Beach gem and worth the short detour after a refreshing swim in the sea. Its entire ice cream range is made from homemade cashew butter — the result being a thick and creamy texture. In fact, there are a few unique and game-changing flavours on the menu that are sure to tickle your taste buds. Chachas’ bestseller is the Miso Caramel, a refreshing interpretation of salted caramel. However, for those feeling a little more adventurous, the turmeric flavour is bound to please. Admittedly, it has a pretty strong bite but the taste is still pretty darn good.
It’s no shocker that one of the best places for vegan ice cream is in our beloved Newtown, a vibrant cultural hub with endless options of food and fun to choose from. If this is your usual hangout and you haven’t been to Gelato Blue yet, go now, now, now! The family-owned shop, and Sydney’s first 100% plant-based gelateria, serves up creative gelato flavours made in-house with coconut milk. From Choc Hazelnut and Hokey Pokey to Tiramisu and Roasted Pistachio, there’s enough quirky flavours to pick and choose from. Fitt Tip: splurge a little more and order a vegan dessert off their menu to go with your scoop.
For guilt-free pleasure with a side of beach, Pepita’s at North Curl Curl is a thing of dreams. It serves up punchy sorbets using seasonal local ingredients and ice cream made from coconut and cashew milk — both scoops plant-based and gluten-free. Imagine digging into a guava, raspberry, or watermelon and rose sorbet (yum!) after sunbathing at the beach, or ending the day right with a scoop of mocha ice cream — because who doesn’t love a coffee and chocolate combo? Although Pepita’s is still roaming the Northern Beaches in a cute VW bus, it now has a permanent set-up within Split Coffee on Pitt Road.
Cocowhip does soft serve differently, and it does it well. Made from coconut water and coconut oil, packed with probiotics, and then “whipped to perfection”, this healthy alternative will please even the weakest of dairy-lovers. The wonder product is available all over, but our favourite sweet stop is at The Health Emporium in Bondi. On offer, you’ll find a range of flavours including original coconut (of course), Cacao Bliss, Super Berry, and Minty Matcha. But what really makes people go loco for coco is their incredible toppings. Try the deluxe snickers topping which comes with fresh peanut butter, home-made salted caramel sauce, a raw peanut velvet bar, and strawberries.
It would be a shame not to include Messina on our list given its cult-like status among Sydneysiders who are obsessed with its gelato. It may not be 100% vegan AND has enough stores dotted across the city to take away the unique factor, but hey, it’s just that good. Their chocolate sorbet, for instance, is unbelievably amazing, and we wouldn’t dare let you miss out on it. There are also eight other sorbet flavours on the menu to appease anyone who doesn’t fancy chocolate (or dairy, for that matter). Get a scoop of pandan and coconut, lemon, salted caramel and mango salsa, or blood orange. Better yet, mix and match and send yourself to a very happy place.
Newtown (of course) has another winner in its midst. Mapo opened up on King Street in 2019 and already has a strong fanbase singing its praises. The owner, Matteo Pochintesta, was an architect before he decided to change crafts. After training under the owner of Milan’s renowned gelateria Ciacco, he moved back to Sydney to make his own mark. Although his shop, which uses raw organic ingredients to make fresh gelato everyday, isn’t 100% vegan, more than half of its flavours are bound to please plant-based clientele. Mapo’s creamy and mildly sweet pistachio, made from imported Sicilian nuts, is a sure shot winner. We swear, you won’t even be able to tell it's dairy-free.
If Gelatissimo has been on your radar but you’ve been restricted by dietary requirements, you’re in for a fun surprise. Although the gelateria already had vegan sorbets on the menu—including raspberry, mango, and coconut—they’ve now expanded their range with two new flavours to satisfy your cravings. First up is the Caramel Mud Cake, a creamy vegan caramel gelato flavoured with caramelised sugar and loaded with chunks of golden-brown caramel mud cake. Next is the Triple Chocolate, a rich chocolate sprinkled with Australian-made vegan choc chips, drizzled with chocolate sauce, and dusted with cocoa powder. The new options (plus a possible third) are available in all stores across the city until 2 April 2020, but after Sydney has a taste, we think they might stick around longer.
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