Photo Credit: @rosegaulin
By Courtney Francoeur
ZineTeam Ambassador Courtney Francoeur Reviews Eight Ice Cream Shops in Boston
Where can one find the best scoop of vegan ice cream in Boston? I set out on a quest to answer that question.
I will say that taste in ice cream is definitely subjective and to me there are a few important traits that I look for in a high quality scoop. First, I want something that is rich and creamy, no sorbets here, I want a decadent treat that will satisfy my raging sweet tooth. Secondly, I am a sucker for a good price, this list is about where you can get the most bang for your buck. A scoop can be incredible, but if it’s going to require taking out a mortgage on my house, it just isn’t worth it. Third, I love interesting flavors that go beyond simple chocolate and vanilla, and if an establishment brings something new to the table, that is definitely something that I take into consideration.
With all that being said, let’s talk about some ice cream.
Definitely my favorite ice cream in Boston. New City has some of the creamiest, richest, dairy-free ice cream that I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting! Although their usual rotation is normally 3 flavors (Chocolate, vanilla, and one more “exciting” option) New City is a must try for any ice cream lover. When I stopped by, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of their vegan Cookies & Cream and it certainly hit the spot, providing me with the perfect combination of sweet vanilla and chocolate-y sandwich cookie. I also usually opt to top my scoop with their “tutti frutti” topping, which is their house made take on Fruity Pebbles. For only $4.80 this is a not only delicious, but affordable option and it’s right on Mass Ave. in Cambridge across the street from the love of my life, Veggie Galaxy. New City provides the PERFECT dessert to follow up your vegan take-out dinner!
An easy number two. Deliciously creamy ice cream and a good variety of constantly rotating vegan flavors. The portion sizes are crazy and you can get a mini, which is larger than what some places consider to be a small for $3.50 (plus tax)! An absolute steal and your tastebuds will not be disappointed. Some of my personal favorite flavors are their “Mocha Coco” and Cookies & Cream, both are coconut milk based, but you can’t really tell. The flavors of their ice cream are strong and overpower any underlying coconut taste, which I consider a major plus. My only qualms are that it’s a little bit out of the way (being in Somerville) and some of the flavors are definitely misses instead of hits. While I don’t know if I can live without their chocolate, I definitely would pass on having the vegan chai again.
Decadent and delicious. FoMu is a staple for any vegan in the Boston area. My only complaint is that some of the vanilla based flavors have very strong coconut undertones. The chocolate-y flavors definitely mask the coconut taste much better. Definitely worth it for the price although the portions can feel a bit small if you’re used to suburban scoop shops. Despite my complaints, I do love FoMu and consider it a must try for ANY vegan living in Boston. I highly recommend trying their seasonal flavors, but both their “Grasshopper Pie” and “Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie,” year round staples, are very solid choices. They have a number of locations in the area so if you live in the city there will most likely be a scoop shop near you! Although this article is mainly about the ice cream, I will add that FoMu offers a wide variety of all vegan toppings including whipped cream AND hot fudge, making it number one when it comes to vegan sundaes.
Now I will say that Emack’s has some of the best vegan ice cream that I’ve tried in Boston. It was extremely flavorful, even as good as my number one choice (Which is saying a lot). My flavor of choice is the “Mint Chocolate Freckle,” a perfectly minty scoop, with the biggest chunks of chocolate chip that you will ever find in a cup of ice cream. The one downfall of Emack’s is that the price is so high and the portions are so tiny. Although the flavors will blow your mind, I would only pick this place if someone else is paying. With the small portions and exorbitant price I can’t say that Emack’s is worth it for me. This list is about where you can get the most bang for your buck, and while very tasty, I don’t think it’s $5.60 worth of tasty. Especially when you can get much more affordable ice cream that is equivalently delicious.
Always a solid choice, although not exclusive to Boston, Ben and Jerry’s offers a nice selection of vegan flavors that are unique and fun. I highly recommend trying Change the Whirled as it is a scoop shop exclusive! Although I am a big fan of this ice cream, it doesn’t rank high as you can simply purchase a pint from your local grocery store. This list is more about the places to get a satisfying scoop, rather than which pint you should pick up next time you’re at Star Market.
Although light, refreshing, and quite delicious: Amorino’s only vegan options are sorbets. Are they good sorbets? Yes, but they in no way match the richness that I desire in a quality scoop of ice cream. Additionally, they are pricier than some of my favorite options here in the city. They primarily have fruity flavors, but they do offer chocolate, which is the one that I opted to try. Overall, Amorino isn’t a bad choice, but at least for vegans, it isn’t offering anything special. If you haven’t been you aren’t missing out on much.
Although the flavor was pretty good, the textures at Honeycomb Creamery were questionable. I chose to get a scoop of their “Golden Milk” and found that my ice cream was a bit icy, which was not the most pleasant experience. I prefer my ice cream to be smooth and creamy, at points my scoop was the texture of shaved ice, which was jarring and not quite what I would consider satisfying. Although one of the more reasonably priced options, I was not a fan of what Honeycomb Creamery had to offer. I would definitely consider this one a pass.
My least favorite ice cream in Boston. Way overhyped, at least for vegans. I tried one of their oat milk based flavors, Pumpkin Spice, and found it to be watery and very light. More of a light refreshment as opposed to the creamy indulgence that I crave in a scoop of ice cream. After I finished my scoop, I found there was a strange film left over my tongue. Not my favorite, and although not the most expensive on the list, definitely not worth the price of admission. There are J.P. Licks everywhere, but there are also other options, with MUCH better scoops, so consider this one only as a last resort.
I have to admit, I had a TON of fun going around the city and trying every place where I saw vegan options offered. That being said, I would like to add a few disclaimers. At the end of the day these are only MY opinions, and although I consider myself to be a vegan ice cream connoisseur I am not going to claim that everyone will agree with my rankings. I also want to add that I may have missed out on some smaller ice cream shops as I’m not perfect, and don’t have access to a comprehensive list of EVERY ice cream shop in the city. I do hope that people who haven’t dipped their toes too deep into the world of vegan ice cream give some of my top choices a try! I promise that out of my top 3 you are sure to find at least one location to love.
Meet the Author:
Courtney is a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been fully vegan since 2019. She’s a huge foodie, has been her whole life, but as she’s gotten older she decided to become more conscious of where her food comes from. Once Courtney started doing research into the animal agriculture industry, she knew she had to choose veganism. Even if the lifestyle can’t be entirely harm-free, she wants to cause as little suffering as possible. As a rep for VeganZine, Courtney wants to show all of her fellow students that being vegan can be sustainable (and delicious)!
You can follow Courtney on Instagram @lilmissgrannysmith!