Walking through Soho today I spotted the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck parked at the corner of Greene and Prince streets. Painted pale yellow, the truck sported an elegantly worded menu of treats and a very attractive ice cream man named Pete who claimed he was the “cooler, funnier, older brother” to Ben Van Leeuwen, the founder. (I promptly emailed a friend of mine to leave her desk and go to the ice cream truck to chat him up. Not sure if she did). I had heard about the truck from my foodie friend Erin, so I knew it was legit.
I chose a scoop of pistachio. Pete said it’s their best flavor and as he scooped, engaged me in friendly artisanal ice cream conversation:
Pete (with a smile): “There’s going to be a crisis soon.”
Me: “What kind of crisis?”
Pete: “We only buy certain pistachios from a couple of families in Italy. We’ve been ordering so much from them they’re going to run out.”
Me, laughing incredulously, responds somewhat adoringly: “Oh no! What will you do?”
Pete: “I don’t know. We’ve got some addicts here who come every day for the pistachio. But we’re probably not going to have enough pistachios to make it for a couple of weeks.”
I then made some stupid joke about subbing in walnuts and tricking the addicts into eating it.
I love someone who is so passionate about what they do they are willing to forgo their BEST flavor rather than compromise on the integrity of their product. And rightfully so. Van Leeuwen ice cream possesses a subtlety of flavor that will appeal to grown-ups. It’s made with all organic products, and the specialty ingredients are all from small gourmet producers. It was beautifully creamy, soft, and elegant. I never thought I would apply those words to something I got from an ice cream truck.
For the Van Leeuwen website, click here.
The ice cream truck is on the corner of Prince and Greene from 11-8PM daily, then University bet 11th and 12th from 8-11PM.