by Alicia Lieu
I wanted to catch up with a former co-worker of mine, Guiseppe Maione, the founder of Alchemy Creamery which produces vegan, gluten free and kosher ice cream in New York City. This is a very busy season for him, especially with the hot and humid weather that New York has been experiencing recently.
A: I’ve had the privilege of tasting your delicious and awesome ice cream. Can you tell me about how you decided to start Alchemy Creamery? What has the journey been like?
G: When I first moved to NYC, my roommates were a recently married couple who had gotten an ice cream machine that we started to experiment with. Having been lactose intolerant for years, I would create usual flavors based with dairy-free milks we had around the house. One of our mutual friends, after tasting several batches, thought that we could be making something that was quite unique. The journey has been once in a lifetime so far. We got linked up with the now famous food fair, Smorgasburg, in Brooklyn and started vending our ice cream there. The response has been incredible year over year while we have been part of their roster since 2012.
A: There has been an incredible response to your ice cream in NYC. I have a quote from a mutual friend, Xander. “They come up with flavors that you’ve never thought of and will probably never forget. I still crave the strawberry-jalapeño I tried a few years back.” This is a very tame quote from Xander, actually. I still remember the awesomeness that ensued when you served up some hand-torched goodness as a topping. You are probably fairly limited in the ingredients that you can use. What are the challenges to producing vegan, gluten-free, and kosher ice cream?
G: The challenges are limiting to an extent. We make our ice cream from almond, coconut, cashew and hazelnut. Mostly it cuts out a lot of the additives that most other companies use as a shortcut. By producing everything we need from scratch, we are able to still manufacture amazing toppings, like caramel, chocolate mocha sauce and all kinds of pureed fruit toppings, without sacrificing flavor, texture, or creativity of our dairy-free ice cream bases as well.
A: I just starting making my own ice cream and the taste is pure without the additives in it. I wouldn’t know how to turn it into a business, though. What is the next step for Alchemy Creamery? How else can New Yorkers support you besides being devoted customers?
G: We are working towards expanding distribution to grocery stores and working with a new delivery system and online storefront. They can look for us at Smorgasburg, on Governors Island, and at our website.
A: Thank you, Guiseppe! I look forward to getting to a Smorgasburg sometime soon! I wish you the best.
As For recipes, I am happy to announce a partnership with Lea Leong Ringler, food blogger and my best friend from my college days. We had many adventures together and though we don’t get to see each other very often, I feel like we are still having adventures together, even cross country or across oceans. You can follow her on Instagram @cookinwithwhatchagot and her blog Cookin’ With Whatcha Got.
She has developed and tested ice cream recipes for me and the favorite this week turned out to be the Coconut Coffee Ice Cream. Vegan and delicious.
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T vanilla extract
1/3 cup non-dairy milk (almond, soy, or rice)
Slice bananas and freeze overnight. Place frozen bananas, cocoa, vanilla, and milk in a food processor or blender. Pulse/blend until mixture is smooth. Serve immediately or keep in freezer for about one week.
Coconut Coffee Ice Cream (adapted from Coffee Coconut Ice Cream – Minimalist Baker)
I used 2 – 14oz cans of Thai coconut milk, 1/2 cup agave nectar, 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee, 1 T vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. I warmed all of the ingredients over medium heat in a sauce pan. Then put the mixture in a large bowl and let it cool overnight. I do not have an ice cream maker, so I used her notes on doing it without a machine. I used an immersion blender to whip the mixture throughout the freezing process. I whipped it every hour for 6 hours until it was just more melts than soft serve ice cream. It freezes much harder and icier than real ice cream, but once it is scooped, it is very creamy. The flavor is really nice – a good combo of coconut and coffee. I would add chocolate chips or chunks for added fun.