There are only a few options of dairy-free ice cream available in Montreal. Kingsley Desserts offers ice cream made with coconut cream and natural and local ingredients. There is no soy product. I met the founders, Stephanie Laichi and Brian Peters, at Salmigondis. Brian is the chef of the restaurant, while Stephanie is a baker at Arts Café. The cute couple prepare their ice cream in the restaurant’s kitchen. I had the chance to seat down with them and find out about their products.
Nicole Yeba (NY): What’s the story behind Kingsley Desserts?
Stephanie Laichi (SL): It started about a year ago. My whole background was always in marketing and PR. I ended up getting sick from stress and different things. I started to reevaluate how I wanted to work and what kind of environment I want to work in and I had this epiphany that I wanted to work for a really honest company, try to do good for the community and create a good product. As an avid baker, I decided to make lactose-free dairy ice cream. Mainly because I’m lactose intolerant and I didn’t find many products that I could enjoy that I could have and I found myself cheating too many times and then getting sick. The problem with most dairy-free ice creams, it isn’t as creamy and it tasted a little odd. I wanted to make a product that tasted as good as regular ice cream and that wouldn’t make me cheat.
NY: What kind of ingredients do you use?
SL: Primarily, we use coconut cream, which is what helps them get really creamy. I’m against soy so we don’t use any. We make sure our ingredients are local and try to get best quality as possible. Everything is vegan. There is no corn syrup, we use agave syrup so that’s good and savoury. Everything is handmade in the kitchen except the coconut, which you can’t get here.
Brian Peters (BP): We’re always struggling to make sure the coconut isn’t the strongest flavor.
NY: Where can your products be found?
SL: Right now, one dessert is available here at Salmigondis and soon it will be selling at Arts Café. I’ll be doing the market circuit around the fares this summer. Then the goal in 2016 is to be in grocery stores or at least a few independent ones. This is really our first season where we’re putting it out there and see what people think. That’s why starting in fares was very important so we could talk to people directly and build a network. The mission of this company is social, to be community-based.
NY: What was important for you?
SL: The fact that it’s not an exclusive product was the most important thing for me. It’s not just for vegans or people who are lactose intolerant. It’s a product that could be for anyone no matter their dietary restrictions. We’ve worked hard for it to be flavourful for everyone. Brian with his chef expertise has helped me a lot with flavouring. It was also important that we’re the ones who make the ice cream. So our sweat and tears go into every ice cream.
BP: Not literally!
I then tasted the ice cream of Kingsley Desserts. The plate had two ice cream sandwiches made with ginger snap cookies. I started with the Vanilla Bourbon one, which was light and sweet. Then I tried the Strawberry Rhubarb & Honeysuckle one. It was fruity and light as well. The ice cream sandwiches were easy to eat in two to three bites. The flavours came through despite the ginger snap cookies. They are perfect for those who want a small treat. There were also two flavours of ice cream in the tiny bowls. I started with the Vanilla Salted Caramel one. It was creamy and the salted caramel added a nice quick punch. The next one was a Chocolate Amaretto with Roasted Hazelnuts. It almost tasted like Nutella and the hazelnuts were smokey and rich in flavor.
Despite being made with coconut cream, none of them had a coconut taste. The consistency was similar to a soft-serve ice cream.
Stephanie said her favourite was the Chocolate Amaretto with Roasted Hazelnuts because she loves chocolate. I loved all of them but my favourite were the two vanilla-flavoured ones because I love vanilla.
The Vanilla Bourbon sandwich is on the Salmigondis menu and it is a crowd pleaser. Everybody loves it.
Look for Kingsley Desserts at Puces Pop this weekend May 29-31 at Eglise St. Denis (5075 Rue Rivard); 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. Ice cream sandwiches are 1 for $2.50 or 2 for $4. Ice cream containers (comes with a spoon inside) are $4.50. You can find them HERE or instagram them @kingsleydesserts