Ice Age! is an ice-cream brand started by local Larvina Wong last year. The astute may also know Larvina as the founder of Igloo Dessert Bar at Central’s Star Ferry pier, which she began after leaving her job as an architect. Igloo went on to be named Foodie Forks 2019 Readers’ Choice Best Desserts. Totally worth the career change!
What makes newcomer Ice Age! so special is that it’s vegan, but it uses cow’s milk – well, the same molecular structure as cow’s milk, just prepared without the cows – using technology developed by Li Ka-shing–backed company Perfect Day. Ice Age! ice cream is as creamy, silky and luscious as any you have had before, and it’s lactose free.
But is it truly vegan, if it’s made using milk that’s identical to cow’s milk but without the cows? There’s a lot to discuss here, and you may have questions. Have a look at the Ice Age! FAQs for some answers. Officially, the ice cream is made without the use of animals, so it is vegan.
Ice Age! is available at Great Food Hall, Food le Parc and a couple of Fusion supermarkets around town. It’s best to check their website for the latest locations.
If you’re interested in what milk supplier Perfect Day is doing and how it’s different, have a look at the bottom of this article to learn about the technology involved. Right now, we’re just interested in what the ice cream tastes like! We were lucky enough to get to try all the different flavours when we hooked up with Ice Age! at the media launch event.
Larvina Wong from Ice Age! with her collaboration partners
Wil Fang (Cookie DPT), Cara and Laura Li (Matchali), Lindsay Jang (Yardbird) and Claudia Cheung (Classified) joined Larvina and a bunch of press to crack open the ice-cream vault and share the new flavours (albeit in the tiniest scoops you’ve ever seen).
Ice Age!’s standard and limited-edition flavours are available through their product page, and now they have two new flavours. Both caramel popcorn and peanut butter chocolate are sure to please even the most discerning ice-cream connoisseur.
The ice cream came out in tiny, hard-looking balls that were intimidating in spite of their size owing to their icy exterior, but they dissolved as soon as they hit the tongue. This is unlike any vegan ice cream you have had before.
Yardbird has stayed true to its yakitori-over-charcoal roots, coming up with a charcoconut ice lolly ($60) – in the shape of a piece of charcoal on a skewer, sort of. It’s a novelty that also tastes amazing. There’s definitely coconut and chocolate in there, and there’s something else too... a familiar taste we can’t quite put our finger on yet. Get it at Yardbird in Sheung Wan.
We tried Classified’s caffe ice cream ($60), which we can see ourselves having at any time of the day or night. On the way to work? It’s basically coffee. Afternoon? It’s ice cream. Evening? You deserve it. The only downside at the moment is that you need to go to Classified in Stanley to find it.
Matchali and Cookie DPT have joined forces to make the ultimate ice-cream dream team. We’ll be honest with you like we were with Cara and Laura at Matchali – once, we had too mucha matcha in an ice cream and have not had it since. So it was with trepidation that we tried their new flavour, matcha cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream ($60). It’s great! The matcha is not at all overwhelming; it’s a very comfortable base-level flavour that supports the almost hidden cocoons of cookie in every bite.
Cookie DPT also offers a number of vegan cookies, using a blend of oils to substitute for butter. Their current flavour is vegan dark chocolate chip.
You can find this Ice Age! flavour at Matchali at Pacific Place, ifc mall and K11 MUSEA or at Cookie DPT at Lee Garden One.
The technology (this is more interesting than you’d think)
Do you need an excuse to try more ice cream? We certainly don’t, but it turns out we have an excuse anyway. Ice Age! is made from milk that is molecularly identical to milk from a cow, except it’s fermented instead of milked, using microflora that take sugar and create real dairy proteins.
From the Perfect Day FAQs:
Perfect Day is reimagining dairy protein without cows. We’ve invented the world’s first real milk proteins made without animals, so you can enjoy the real taste, texture and nutrition of dairy – but produced sustainably and without the downsides of factory farming, lactose, hormones or antibiotics.
Is this gross? Does it seem unnatural? Maybe. But consider this – cheese is traditionally made using rennet, which is harvested from the stomachs of baby cows. Today, cheesemakers often make cheese using a fermented rennet substitute called FPC (originally made by Pfizer – those guys!) – made using yeast that has been modified to produce the correct proteins – in exactly the same manner as Perfect Day.
Knowing these sorts of facts helps us to distinguish which things seem gross simply because they are unfamiliar.
Perfect Day is famously backed by Li Ka-shing, and the company has just unveiled the results of a comprehensive life-cycle sssessment (LCA) report on its non-animal whey protein. Unsurprisingly, without the need for cows, Perfect Day’s whey-protein production generates at least 85% (and up to 97%) less greenhouse-gas emissions.
Already, with today’s technology and modern processes, milk no longer needs cows to be made. This is huge. And it puts dairy whey (ha) ahead of the cultured-meats game, with those folks still trying to figure out how to grow fat, muscle and tendon and put it all together.
Note: we would like to point out that we don’t think cows or farmers are the enemy – it’s just not that simple. This is a big topic and a very small side note.
So that’s it. You can eat ice cream to support the environment. You’re welcome.
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