Today is a milestone day in the history of our company. Because today we release our first dairy-free “ice cream,” Dark Chocolate Truffle, by the scoop exclusively in our shops. Believe me when I say this flavor is game-changing. Forget that it’s dairy-free. We made Dark Chocolate Truffle to be as good as anything else we make. It’s about the chocolate, the flavor, and texture just like any of our other ice creams.

When I opened Jeni’s 15 years ago, I wanted to make the best ice creams I could imagine (because that’s always better than what actually exists). Every day we come a little closer to that goal with a recipe that remains unique in the world of dairy ice cream.

When we started on the path to create an exceptional dairy-free flavor (five years ago!), we had the same endgame in mind. We knew that when we put out a dairy-free, vegan-friendly flavor it has to please dairy lovers first (namely, me).

I wanted to create something new and different and wondrous all on its own—a whole new way of looking at what frozen dessert is, dairy or not.

The world is full of dairy-free frozen desserts that are passable to someone who hasn’t eaten dairy ice cream in recent memory, and we could have done that years ago using an off-the-shelf, non-dairy mix. But I have never had any interest in making things that are not truly beautiful. So the question for me was, could we make a non-dairy version of our ice cream that dairy lovers would clamor for?

I am convinced that, at least for now, there is no real alternative to milk. Milk is magical and there is simply no way to replicate all of its flavor and functionality in the plant kingdom. After myriad trials with nut milks, pea protein, algae flower, and various starches and proteins, I decided to pivot my approach. Forget about mimicking dairy. It’s not possible.

I wanted to create something new and different and wondrous all on its own—a whole new way of looking at what frozen dessert is, dairy or not.

I have always thought that since our dark chocolate ice cream has so much chocolate in the recipe it would be a perfect place to start—all that chocolate displaces the dairy, and if we just keep pushing we might get rid of dairy altogether.

Image of a bucket of dairy-free Dark Chocolate Truffle ice cream

Cocoa also absorbs water, giving us more stability and better scoop-ability. We use the same high-quality, Fair Trade, Dutch-processed cocoa powder that we do in our Darkest Chocolate. You get the rich, cocoa flavor first, surrounded by the fat of the coconut cream, which does its part to carry the flavor to your nose. Then a subtle whiff of coconut creeps up slowly to give an extra layer of depth. Dark Chocolate Truffle leaves the mouth pleasantly dry; makes you want to take another bite.

Dark Chocolate Truffle is so deeply, primally satisfying that since the first moment I had it I crave it, think about it, and desire it as much as I have ever desired dairy ice cream. This is dairy-free “ice cream” that’s not jealous of dairy, made by people who love dairy. (And yes, we know we can’t technically call it “ice cream,” but the experience is so similar to the real thing we can’t help it.) Truth be told, I had the flavor in a shop this week and for a few bites thought I had been served our dairy chocolate ice cream by mistake. So this flavor is for everyone. It’s for chocolate lovers like me. It’s for those of us who can’t or don’t eat dairy. It’s for kids, for grownups. For anyone who wants a truly beautiful, memorable chocolate ice cream, dairy or not.

For now, Dark Chocolate Truffle is a scoop shop exclusive. It is not available in pints yet, but we are working on it (along with more dairy-free flavors). You can sign up for updates on this flavor and other dairy-free news here.