The proposition of vegan ice cream is daunting. I mean, why not just go the sorbet route and make things easy for everyone. Thankfully some people are still out there battling to provide both a healthy and tasty alternative. Walking from Cambridge on a warm December day, I got a Candy Cane cup.
Wheeler’s opened up over a year ago near Symphony Hall. Not that anyone except Berklee students noticed it amongst a row of street level shops at the corner of Huntington and Mass Ave. With a goal of attempting to redeem the concept of vegan desserts from the wasteland of cardboard cupcakes and rediscovered cookie recipes lost after the repeal of wartime rationing in the 1940s, owner Wheeler Del Torro set the bar high.
Using almond and cashew milk as well as soy milk for the base of their ice creams is the trick that makes this all work. Gone is the sometime plasticine taste that soy can leave behind. In its place is rich nuttiness that is dairy free and proud of it.
My first taste was the soursop ice cream. In truth I wasn’t sure what soursop even was, and it wasn’t until later that Wikipedia informed me that it’s more often called Guanabana to those that walk down the Mexican aisle of the grocery store. The chocolate pudding was dense and rich, but I’m more apt to defer the chocolate to a sorbet in a place like this.
What I wound up with was the candy cane. Since it’s December and Christmas is hurtling toward us during this shortened month (that late Thanksgiving offers less shopping weekends), it seemed a fitting choice. The ice cream itself was very rich, with the nut milk making for a denser cup. The red peppermint was presented as an additive to the cream and together they combined for a taste that would sneak past most dairy purists if they didn’t know what they were having.
This was likely one of the last days until spring that it’ll be reasonable to walk across the Charles via the Mass Ave bridge, but with temperatures flirting with the mid 60s, it seemed more preposterous to take the T around and not celebrate the weather while it was here. After watching the ice storms decimate central Mass a few days before, something about walking a couple miles for ice cream was extra special.
Cup – small $3.75 medium $4.75 large $5.75
Sundae – not offered, but toppings added to cup are $1/per
Milkshake Frappe – small $3 medium $4 large $5
Wheeler’s Frozen Desserts
Open year round
Monday-Saturday 11:30a-10p, Sunday 11:30a-9p