Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream started in the spring of 2008 in a buttery yellow truck on the streets of New York City.
“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,” said O’Neill.
All of the company’s ice cream is made from scratch in its kitchen in Brooklyn. The ice cream processor does not use any stabilizers, said O’Neill. The Classic scoops are made from milk and cream, cane sugar and egg yolks. The Vegan scoops are made with house-made cashew milk, organic coconut milk, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic cane sugar, pure cocoa butter and organic carob bean.
What began in the kitchen of a shared Brooklyn apartment back in 2007 has grown into a mini ice cream empire, according to the company’s website. Today, it has scoop trucks and five shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and scoop trucks and three shops in Los Angeles. Its pints (with seven vegan flavors and 12 classic favors) can be found in grocery stores like Whole Foods in the Northeast. The company is looking to branch out nationally in the near future. It also plans to move into a bigger 5,000-square-foot space in the same Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.
A focus on quality
O’Neill said the company is inspired by amazing single ingredients and how to best showcase and pair them. Honeycomb is a popular flavor, and so is sour cream with berry crumble. Customers love the classics because they are made really well with pure ingredients and lots of chunks and swirls.
“We make all of our add-ins from scratch, such as honeycomb candy, marshmallow fluff, cakes, crumbles and brittles,” she said.
O’Neill said the company’s ingredient focus and pure approach to making ice cream has helped to grow the customer base and stand out from the competition. Last June the company released The Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream cookbook, sharing over 100 vegan and classic recipes, along with stories from the past eight years.
Read our original report on artisan ice cream here — "Putting the art back in ice cream."