You might have to take a shuttle bus to get it, but you can now enjoy a frozen treat made from the latest trendy dairy substitute: oat milk. The Boston-based, woman-owned Whipped Urban Dessert Lab has now officially set up shop in Williamsburg’s North 3rd Street Market, where they’ll be serving oat milk soft serve to cool your overheated soul.
Even if you’re a stalwart dairy consumer, you’ve probably heard about the craze surrounding oat milk. In 2018, coffee drinkers demanded the Swedish oat milk brand Oatly so frequently, cafes experienced shortages of the product and even The New Yorker was writing about it. Oatly opened a new plant in New Jersey this past April to keep up with demand.
Whipped’s reasons for using oat milk to make their soft serve are a bit more practical. Lu, Whipped’s owner, tells Bedford + Bowery that she examined the more popular options for non-dairy desserts and found that ice creams made from nut milks like almond and cashew were inaccessible to those with nut allergies, while coconut milk bases tended to have a tangible coconut flavor, which isn’t ideal for people who don’t love its tropical taste.
“Oat milk is allergen-friendly, and we think we’ve come up with a formulation that is really good,” she says.
I braved the heat (and the L train shuttle bus) to sample the soft serve for myself on their opening day Sunday. I opted for a more minimal creation of the vanilla base flavor with coffee-flavored syrup. Some non-dairy ice creams can be harder than their dairy counterparts, but this was indeed creamy as a soft serve should be, and the syrup’s strong flavor melded well with the sweet vanilla. The serving size isn’t huge, but it’s more than enough, and the pricing is fairly similar to other ice cream places in the city.
Currently, there’s only one soft serve flavor available, the aforementioned more traditional “vanilla sweet créme” that is served in a cup or cone and then adorned with various toppings, such as pretzels, salted pecans, sprinkles, and a variety of syrups, from coffee to mint chocolate. Lu says they’re planning on introducing a rotating second flavor in the coming months.
While Whipped is the only place in the city serving soft serve made from oats, those who prefer to snack in the comfort of their own home can get their hands on pints of Oatly’s oat milk ice cream, which have been available in seven flavors in grocery stores since June. Ice cream shop Van Leeuwen also currently offers a “vegan oat milk chocolate crunch” flavor.
And if you’d like your healthy frozen treat experience to have even more vitamins, consider stopping by “anti-anxiety superfood ice cream” shop BIVE, which opened in the Lower East Side last year. A recent Gothamist feature notes the vegan concoctions include familiar ingredients like coconut and cashew milk and peanut butter, as well as nutrient-rich “superfoods” like chia seeds, valerian root, collagen, and echinacea.
Whipped Urban Dessert Lab is located within North 3rd Street Market, 103 North 3rd Street, Williamsburg.