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I tried the vegan ice cream van at Bristol Harbourside

Bristol Live logo Bristol Live 14/07/2022 Aaliyah Miller

When thinking of ice cream, the first thing that springs to mind likely might not be veganism. But, for Happy Cow that is the case.

The Harbourside vehicle is the UK's first to sell plant-based Mr Whippy-style ice cream and become a permanent fixture in the city centre. It's run by Chris Reed, who owns popular fish and chip shop Farrows, and first made an appearance at Breaking Bread last summer.

The ice cream itself is made from plant-based milk and coconut oil and comes kitted out with vegan toppings and waffle cones. And adding to the goodness, are fully-compostable tubs and spoons.

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Happy Cow is not hard to spot, with the van boasting a white and pink exterior - the queues it brings also help. So, I decided to try the vegan treat to see what I was missing out on.

I took my visit at around midday, so the van wasn't as busy as I had seen on a weekend - unsurprisingly. I wasn't sure what to order, so took a while to browse the board, which outlines the toppings and prices.

Each ice cream is priced at £3.50, with the option of a cone or a pot. The topping choices are extensive and include gelato sauces with flavours from coffee to strawberry and extra toppings such as praline or sprinkles.

After deliberating, I opted for a caramel sauce with Biscoff crumb toppings. And it was accompanied by a Lotus Biscoff biscuit, which was a suitable flake alternative in my eyes.

The sauce was added with the most care and precision I have seen in all my years as a Mr Whippy lover, making it a feast for the eyes. The serving size was incredibly generous too, and considering the array of toppings too, I'd say it was worth the price.

The location of the van is perfect, especially on a sunny day. There were a fair few people sat gazing over the water and I joined them, ice-cream in hand.

Perhaps one of the downfalls about buying an ice cream cone on a sunny day is the inevitable race you're forced to embark in when after a few minutes it melts down the cone and on to your hand. But, surprisingly - this wasn't the case with the Happy Cow's offering - even in 26-degree heat.

The fact that there were no sticky hands to concern over was possibly even better that the ice cream itself. Though this would be a hard call to make considering the stacked cone was delicious. Easily the best part of the toppings was the biscuit itself, which made a perfect spoon and went brilliantly with the ice cream. Better than a flake by a mile.

The ice cream itself left nothing to complain about. It was a perfectly refreshing tonic for a hot day. In comparison to it's non-vegan equivalent - the ice cream is undeniably as creamy; which is what you want from a Mr Whippy! It brought all the same joy, with the crunchy cone to compliment the smooth ice cream.

The ice cream itself doesn't taste as sweet, but for those with a sweet tooth this is easily counteracted with the huge range of toppings. And for those without, you're good to go!

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