Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream was launched by Ben Van Leeuwen, his wife Laura O'Neill and brother Pete Van Leeuwen in spring 2008. Aren't these yellow, retrofitted postal service vehicles the cutest thing ever?
I asked for a couple samples, which they did not seem all that enthused about. I couldn't really decide on one so I went with the Peppermint and Chip, it's always a safe bet. What sets this apart from other mint and chip ice creams is that they use really thinly shaved Michel Cluizel 72% chocolate chips, which they get from a small town in Northern France. When chocolate pieces are kept at low temperatures or mixed in with ice cream, they become hard and you end up just swallowing the chocolate pieces rather than savouring their flavors. Thus, they use really thinly shaved chips so that they melt quickly in your mouth and you can actually taste the chocolate flavor. They also source their pure organic peppermint from Oregon.
Pete got their earl gray tea ice cream. Her ice cream was really good. It tasted like a cup o earl gray tea with an after note of honey.
They now have three trucks in New York City and sell pints in many fine food stores, including Whole Foods in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. I wonder if they will ever bring this to Chicago, although I have to say, it won't be the same without seeing the yellow ice cream truck.
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Prince and Greene (in SoHo)
New York, NY 10012