BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Black Label Brilliance

36 Comments

Magic in your mouth. That’s the way Wheeler’s Black Label describes itself, with no hint at modesty or shyness, proclaiming superiority in a fiercely competitive field. A bold move from this newborn company, facing up against the big boys like Häagen-Dazs and Baskin Robbins without so much as flinching. This apparent lack of tact would normally be an instant turn off in my book, but this time, I’m behind them 100%. None of this boasting could outshine such an incredible creation that absolutely deserves this praise, and then some. Not only does their ice cream come in more incredible flavors than you could even dream up and taste like nothing else on the market, but it’s completely vegan. Sure, I do have a certain soft spot for frozen desserts, but mark my words: This stuff puts everything else out there to shame.

Craving a taste since word first reached my ears about this “magical” frozen treat, I could hardly contain my excitement when the carton of four chocolate variations arrived at the door. Having waited for so long, I threw myself upon the box and got right to work, snapping pictures fast as the temptation to tear into each bowlful proved overwhelming. I must apologize in advance for the sloppy photos that resulted.

First up was Mexican Chocolate, an unassuming shade of medium brown that concealed what intense flavors it contained. Smelling of sugar and cocoa with a few floral notes and a fragrant vanilla perfume, only a taste would tell what a fox in sheep’s clothing it truly was. Melting smoothly across my tongue like no other vegan ice cream has before, snatches of sweet cinnamon burst like fireworks before engulfing the whole palate. Super smooth, velvety, and rich, I swear my eyes must have rolled back into my head on the first taste. An incredibly well balanced concoction, the spice actually is the star here, while the chocolate flavor provides an elegant backdrop to support it. Sad to say, the entire container was gone before I had finished writing down notes, and I could have easily polished off two or three more right then and there had I been given half a chance.

Moving next to Chocolate Coconut, I could already tell that good things were in store just by the tropical scent that dazzled my nose while photographing this stuff. Casually sneaking a taste while I had my back turned, my mom declared “Wow, that is coconut!” and a moment later when I tried it for myself, I must have echoed her words exactly. So very coconut, it’s crazy! Like an exotic vacation in the tropics, smothered with decadent, creamy chocolate, who needs paradise when you can have ice cream? Pieces of shredded coconut emerged in every spoonful, adding to the astonishing flavor, but as a fair-weather coconut enthusiast, this was a bit much for me. Coming off as perhaps gritty when it looks like it should be smooth, it was still very good overall… But not exactly my cup of tea.

My enthusiasm for this next flavor is simply through the roof, and I couldn’t possibly wait to declare this one as my favorite of the batch, the clear winner even in a race of champions: Chocolate Black Russian. Now, I had only heard of a white russian previous to this experience, but a little bit of research proved that a black russian was pretty much the same thing, only without cream. Pretty clever, Wheeler! Having had little experience with alcohol, I wouldn’t be able to tell you how close this comes to the original drink, but to me, this ice cream base is the best coffee ice cream I have tasted since going vegan. Seriously, my first thought was “Woah, this seriously tastes like Häagen-Dazs!” I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it, the flavor is just so insane. Add in some huge slabs of bittersweet chocolate that snap cleanly between the teeth, and I swear my heart could have stopped while eating this and I wouldn’t have noticed. It is that good. If heaven were an ice cream, this must be what it tastes like.

Finally, all that remained of my incredible treasure was Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Sporting those same lovely chocolate chunks as the Black Russian, it was certainly a treat just to look at. Smelling of nothing but roasted peanuts, it promised a serious peanut-punch despite its pale pallor. Rich as a spoonful of pure, frosty peanut butter with chocolate sprinkled in, this stuff is maddeningly addictive. For those who are already harboring peanut butter obsessions, this just might be like crack-cocaine, so I must warn against trying it. Especially since that would leave more for me.

This stuff was so convincing that I was almost worried that it might not be vegan after all, but the proof was in digestion: Days later and still no ill effects, I’m thrilled and overwhelmed at how delicious this new dairy-free option is. Although it’s still a bit hard to come by, slowly but surely Wheeler’s is breaking into various restaurant menus and hopefully on to the open market… I just wish it would hurry up, as my main complaint is that they didn’t send me enough!

[Written for Go Dairy Free.]

About these ads

Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

36 thoughts on “Black Label Brilliance

  1. I wish I could get my hands on this. Whoever says vegans are deprived is very very wrong!

  2. can’t wait to have a bite of this!

  3. What a delicious selection of vegan ice creams!

  4. That was such a lovely review… you had me closing my eyes trying to taste the ice cream!! I think my fave would have been the peanut butter chocolate chip. And I thought your pics were great!

  5. Okay, when is this yummy stuff going to be available to others. As always your pics are great and have me wanting some ice cream. :)

  6. I think I would definitely go for the Mexican chocolate first, that sounds wonderful. Usually chocolate ice cream isn’t my choice, but I love spiced chocolate so am intrigued by it! I have heard such good things about this brand. I know it’s a bit more “present” in NY than in Seattle, so I am excited to try it when I am there for the NY Gift show next week.

  7. Omg those look so good. I wish they would start a mail order vegan ice cream company.

  8. Hannah, Though I am not completely vegan, I stay away from ice creams because of the cholesterol that is in plain milk. I sure didn’t like Soy ice creams either. I am definitely trying this.

  9. Ooh, I’m so very jealous! They were supposed to send me samples a few weeks ago, but I’m still waiting. :( I’m so glad it seems to be worth the wait!

  10. My god, I am so jealous! How on earth can I get my hands on some of this magic?

  11. Oh.
    My.
    Gawd.

    You do not know how much I love Mexican Hot Chocolate!!!

    I’m very excited. I will definitely be looking into this!

    Thank you!
    dd

  12. I’m sitting here drooling, trying to figure out how to get my hands on some of that. It looks amazing.

  13. Seriously, I had to stop reading this halfway through because by then I was craving this ice cream so badly and there is no way I can get it… Lovely review :-)

  14. YUMMMMMYYYY!!!!!! they are from my town! I am DYING for some!!!! i can’t wait until they really start distributing this stuff! I will be shoving people out of the way to get it!
    haha!

  15. Wow, I can’t believe this stuff is vegan. It looks just like ice cream.

  16. jealous.jealous.jealous.jealous!

  17. oh my goodness, those flavors are glorious!! sorry that the chocolate-coconut wasn’t that great; but hey, with chocolate-peanut butter, black russian, mexican chocolate, etcetera, I’d say Black Label vegan “ice cream” is worth its weight in gold, for sure!!

  18. zomg. chocolate. chocolate mexican. chocolate pb, chocoalte coconut everything. I don’t even normally LIKE chocolate ice cream. I want all of these. (ESPECIALLY the russian one, I think they made that specifically to torture people who can’t have it but have to look at insanely good pictures of it – drooool*) :O

  19. i’m in serious need of that chocolate black russian. seeerious need.

  20. ummm where do you get this cause i’m in desperate need of it… we don’t have good rice ice cream and very limited soy ice cream ps you should also get ciao bella gelato… i only get it like once in a blue moon when i have a buttload of extra money and i don’t immediately spend it on vegan essentials or baking stuff and such… and they only have a few flavors for mail order… but by god you have not lived until you’ve tried their mango and passion fruit sorbetto… their website is ciaobellagelato.com

  21. YAY, you were able to try Wheelers! Isn’t it SO amazing?! I was seriously stunned & I only got to try 2 flavors.

  22. Thank everyone for such kind words- For those who get this as a feed- email Hannah, she will send us a list and we will make sure everyone gets ice cream! You have to pay for the shipping but because we love Hannah so much will will give you the ice cream FREE!

  23. Holy Cow, this looks incredible! I must find a place to be able to buy this!!! In the meantime, tho, can I get onto that free Wheeler’s list?!?

  24. Great review! And your photos put mine to shame. The chocolate peanut butter sounds truly divine!

  25. This sounds like amazing stuff (but I doubt we can get it here in the frozen North–sniff.) I’m sure the chocolate/PB combo would be my favorite. And you’re APOLOGIZING for those photos??? If only my best could look like your worst, I’d be a happy, happy girl!

  26. Yummy photos. I am not a vegan, but I’m definitely interested in cutting back on dairy. I think I need a more balanced diet…

  27. Oh My gosh! I am so going to try and find these! You have wanting ice cream now! Thanks for the great photos and reviews!

  28. I just wish these were available in Canada – they sound dreamy!

  29. so very jealous, I’ve never been able to find a soy ice cream that gives me what I’m looking for, a smooth, creamy, well blended goodness, all neatly packaged in a “single serving” container. So many of Wheeler’s ice cream flavors would make an excellent accompaniment to your MSV recipes!! Can’t wait till it’s available in Texas!!!!

  30. I am so jealous! So many bloggers have gotten the chance to taste and review these awesome ice creams and I’m left in the dust! Mayhaps I should get down on my knees and beg for a chance!

    The black russian does sound incredible. I almost caught myself licking it off the screen!

  31. Is that offer for real? Please sign me up! I would gladly pay shipping to get some of this!!

  32. Love them all but that last shot is gorgeous in color composition and textures!

  33. Wow! This stuff looks amazing…

    How can I get on that Wheeler’s email list??

  34. I would like to find out how to try this too! Ice cream is something that I miss soooo much….

    I may just have to drive to Boston, dammit!!!!!

  35. I will never buy anything from these creeps and I encourage you to refrain as well. They parked their van in the middle of Dartmouth street in Boston at rush hour yesterday to make a delivery, freezing traffic for several blocks so their driver wouldn’t be inconvenienced. When I called the store to ask that they not do this, “Emily” hung up on me. When I called back, “Emily” refused to give me the owner’s contact info. If you want to support a business that doesn’t give a crap about other people, Wheeler’s Ice Cream is for you. Else, you should take your business someplace else.

    John

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