Unframed Ice Cream on Kloof Street, Cape Town, has come up with a flavour that’s unlike any frozen dessert you’ve tasted before – vegan lion’s mane mushroom ice cream.
The silky non-dairy ice cream was made with elixir from lion’s mane mushrooms, a product from USA brand Four Sigmatic, which creates instant mushroom coffees and superfood elixirs that dissolve with hot water or nut milk.
These medicinal mushrooms are a powerful superfood, says Unframed owner Yann Rey. Lion’s mane has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine throughout history, and is thought to improve cognitive function, boost the immune system, and combat depression and tiredness.
The dual-extracted mushroom mix (which comes in powder form, with added star anise, mint, and stevia) was paired with marmalade from Olive Branch Deli, a Cape-Town-based community grocer, to balance out the bitterness in the ice cream. According to the Instagram post, it’s pretty much the opposite of brain freeze: “It’s like a hug for your brain!”
A limited amount was on sale until it ran out in the last week of May 2017. The Unframed Ice Cream counter, which is open daily until 11pm, is known for rotating flavours, but Yann says the response to the lion’s mane ice cream was so good that it is bound to appear again sometime.
It’s winter, which is a busy time for the team. “We try to come up new flavours, play, then put them on display.” Spring will bring with it 12–15 new flavours for fans to try.
Yann says the focus at the moment is on their vegan offering. “We are working hard on trying to make ice cream as healthy as possible.” The Unframed approach keeps three things in mind: incorporating superfoods, reducing sugar, and offering non-diary solutions that are just as delicious as traditional dairy. But, Yann hastens to add, the ice cream will never compromise on texture. “Mouthfeel is our obsession! That is the challenge for us.”
Customers enjoying a scoop from the store should not be able to tell the difference between dairy and non-dairy ice creams. “We’re talking to two demographics that don’t interact very much,” says Yann. “So it’s pretty fun to blur the lines and bring them together. We’re constantly playing and searching.”
You can stay tuned by following Unframed on Instagram @lifeunframed.