Chi Ndika uses a unique ingredient to make some seriously decadent ice cream without any eggs or dairy.
The owner of Luv Fats Ice Cream started working avocados as the base for a vegan ice cream several years ago when her mom developed an allergy to dairy products.
She was surprised to find that the ice cream was every bit as creamy as traditional ice cream, if not even better, so they served it at her mom’s birthday party to rave reviews. That encouraged Ndika to continue working with the ice cream base to add different flavors, which she started selling at the downtown farmers market on Saturdays and the Mueller market on Sundays under the name Luv Fats.
I came upon the mother-daughter duo a few weeks ago at the Sustainable Food Center market at Republic Square Park downtown, where she was serving the most interesting ice cream flavor I’d seen in awhile: soy sauce.
I asked for a sample, as soon as I tasted the almost caramel-like flavor and the super soft texture, I knew I wanted a whole pint. The ice cream, which also coconut milk and cream in the base, didn’t taste at all like soy sauce, but it had a base layer of umami from the fermented soybeans but without the overt saltiness.
Ndika has crafted dozens of ice creams, but she typically only serves three any given weekend. Flavors in the past year include butternut squash, caramel rosemary, preserved lemon, peach leaf, matcha with beets and lemongrass, brown sugar and buttermilk, and sweet potato swirled with Kenyan chai. Now that strawberries are coming into season, look for strawberry ice cream made with local berries.
"My upcoming flavors are constantly changing based on what’s seasonal at the market and my mood," she says.
You can buy the ice cream by the scoop or by the pint at the markets, and for more info about her upcoming flavors, go to facebook.com/luvfatsicecream.