s I write the phrase “I don’t normally eat ice cream”, I can hear the words of some old blues singer going around my head: “’Course, I don’t drink – not unless I’m on my own or I’m with somebody.” Maybe everybody has to eat ice cream sometimes. Because it’s there. And I found myself particularly drawn towards the Northern Bloc carton in the ice cream section at Waitrose for two reasons: the word “vegan”, and those other vital words, “white choc and honeycomb”. So naturally I had to do some serious product-testing – and have a word with Northern Bloc’s two co-founders, Dirk Mischendahl and Josh Lee.
Dirk stresses that the first criterion of ice cream is that it has to be delicious. “It’s got to be as good as if it was being served in a Michelin-starred restaurant. The vegan community had low expectations. They were willing to accept eating cardboard. We felt it was unacceptable.”
Josh, the younger of the two, is equally concerned with the sustainability side. “Everyone started off using soya, but it’s terrible for the environment. We started off with a rice base, but it’s heavy on water usage. So we switched to pea with oats. The carbon imprint is a lot less and it’s all grown in the UK.” And they use a fully biodegradable pot.