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The Joburg-made vegan ice cream that’s good for the soul

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A Maboneng-based ice cream maker is shaking things up with her dairy-free desserts in innovative flavours. And not only do they taste good – they have a spiritual slant to them, too.

Sinenhlanhla Ndlela, owner and founder of Yococo, has a qualification in TV writing and post production, but has found her purpose in making ice cream. While researching veganism, Sinenhlanhla realised she didn’t like any of the dairy-free options of ice cream that were available. “So I decided to make something I’d enjoy, but be serving love at the same time.”

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The Yococo ice creams are made with nut-based milks and organic fruits and vegetables. “The flavours are carefully chosen to go according to the chakras; for example, the granadilla flavour is for the sacral chakra, which is associated with the emotions and creativity,” Sinenhlanhla explains.

As well as the granadilla-and-chocolate option that’s beloved of fans, there’s also a popular rooibos-and-cookies flavour, which Sinenhlanhla says her customers love for its creaminess and the familiarity of the taste. Spicy pumpkin, golden milk with turmeric, avo and mint, and lemon meringue have also appeared in the Yococo selection. Sinenhlanhla is playing around with strawberries at the moment as they’re back in season, and rosewater is also on the cards.

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What inspires her flavours? “Everything,” says the ice cream maker. “Sometimes it’s mistakes as well.” And she’s making up for lost time: “When I was growing up, finding ice cream in the tub instead of last night’s dinner was almost a miracle. Whenever my gran bought ice cream I had to move quickly to get more than a scoop! We didn’t eat as much as I would have loved to, but when we did it was so good.”

Yococo has recently collaborated with DEAD to make black vegan ice cream that was used on a charcoal Belgian waffle at Rosebank’s Van De Waffle. The brand is working on something right now with Nirmala, the freshly pressed juice. (Check the instagram page @the_yococo for updates.)

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If you’re in Gauteng, you can order your own Yococo vegan ice cream at R100 for a 500ml tub. (If you order more than one, they’re R90 each.) Delivery is free within a 5km radius of Maboneng, and from there it’s R10 per 10 km. You can place orders via Instagram or at info@yococo.co.za.

Sinenhlanhla also does tastings for potential clients, and appears at the Maboneng Night Market, 1Fox – The Sheds, and occasionally the Sunday Rosebank Market.

Having her own store one day is definitely a goal. “I have the moodboard ready, even!”

We’ll see you in the line.

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