Who doesn't love ice cream — that cold, creamy dessert that everyone flocks around when the heat hits? Even in winter, the dessert has its own cult following, and Ferndale and vegans are not immune to this long-standing favorite.
While many nonvegans may assume that one of the many sacrifices a vegan must make is dessert, even more nonvegans — and vegans themselves — might argue that ice cream is never truly replicated without the help of cow’s milk.
All those Ferndalian vegan ice cream lovers can rejoice, though, as is revolutionizing the way vegans and health-conscious ice cream addicts view their future with this ice-cold dessert.
Treat Dreams, located on Woodward north of Nine Mile, opened its doors in August with a fresh concept in the ice cream industry: the recently rising trend of micro-creameries and exotic ice cream flavors.
Previously, if Metro Detroiters desired a unique ice cream flavor, such as peanut butter brittle or lavender honey, they had to drive a bit — especially if they wanted the consciousness of local, fresh, organic ingredients in genuine ice cream made by hand.
When Treat Dreams opened, it was well-received by locals, offering more than 140 handmade, local, organic flavors.
“I started going pretty much when it first opened up because I liked the idea of a micro-creamery using local ingredients,” said Cassandra Corcoran, who lives just steps away from Treat Dreams' welcoming door. "I still go at least once a week."
Then Treat Dreams had an idea — why not serve the vegan and health-conscious ice cream lovers in Ferndale?
Before Treat Dreams opened, vegans in the area had to rely on grocery store vegan ice cream at local shops such as The Natural Food Patch. These brands of coconut- and soy milk-based ice creams are shipped in from out of state to accommodate the lack of local, vegan ice cream. Vegans who wanted a fresh-scooped cone of ice cream had to make it themselves at home.
Now, though, Treat Dreams is serving vegan ice cream.
“People are finding out and coming in," said Treat Dreams owner Scott Moloney. "We’re up to five flavors of vegan ice cream, and now that we have the texture down, it will be easy to replicate almost all the flavors we offer in ice cream."
Figuring out the texture of the vegan ice cream was a key component. At first, it was rough starting. “We tried a few different bases, such as soy, and it was difficult to get the texture right and easy to scoop because we were trying to make it from scratch,” Moloney said.
Now Treat Dreams uses coconut as a base and has developed a recipe that is creamy, smooth and as satisfying as any dairy-based ice cream. The store offers flavors such as strawberry balsamic coconut and has plans to roll out more exotic options, such as lavender lemon — a vegan play on the nonvegan lavender honey flavor.
Treat Dreams is quickly gaining a vegan following, and as more vegans drop in, more vegan ice cream flavors pop up on the menu. So what’s next for this revolutionary micro-creamery?
“We just bought vegan brownies from Pinwheel Bakery, and we plan on making a vegan ice cream birthday cake,” Moloney said.
Now vegans and health-conscious ice cream addicts have more reason than ever to celebrate vegan ice cream, and they won’t have to forgo the dessert on their birthdays.