By Clarice Ong | Staff Writer
We all scream for ice cream! Unfortunately, the joy of consuming these frozen delights during a hot day is denied to the lactose intolerant and vegans amongst us. However, lactose intolerant individuals and vegans in the East Bay can now enjoy luscious ice cream, thanks to Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery.
Founded in 2011 by brothers Ari and Andrew Cohen, Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery currently has brick-and-mortar locations in Albany and Emeryville. Their products are also carried by the restaurant Paulista Brazilian Kitchen in Oakland and stores such as Alameda Natural Grocery, Berkeley Bowl, Berkeley Natural Market, and El Cerrito Natural Market. They offer creamy concoctions that are friendly to most individuals who cannot consume dairy. Made with cashews sourced by a local nut butter company partner from Vietnam and Africa, Mr. Dewie’s uses natural, organic, and healthy ingredients and eschews additives, preservatives, gums, or oils in their ice cream selections. The resulting frosty treats are creamy, silky, and decadent.
Like most children, Messrs. Cohen grew up as ice cream lovers. However, they later discovered that they were lactose intolerant and have developed sensitivity to gluten and soy. Ari’s children similarly have these dietary restrictions. Despite giving up on milk and milk products altogether, Ari instead developed his own pecan-and-date nut milk in his kitchen for his consumption. This delicious homemade pecan-and-date nut milk led to the development of salted pecan ice cream, which is the precursor to Mr. Dewie.
Mr. Dewie’s had an interesting trajectory. From offering their products at neighborhood grocery such as Farmer Joe’s in Oakland, their products were then distributed nationally through Whole Foods. However, the brothers found out that they only had so much control over the quality of their products in this business model. As such, they decided to buy back their share of the business and offered their ice cream locally where they could introduce more flavors and products (e.g. bonbons) and control the temperature of the freezers to keep the creaminess and scoopability of their ice cream at the optimal level.
By offering their products locally, Mr. Dewie’s has been able to connect with the community. Their customers help inspire some of their flavors, and they have partnered with other local businesses. Though they initially created flavors that are familiar to customer palettes (such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) to woo customers towards cashew ice cream, they have developed other flavors upon customers’ suggestions. For instance, the roasted cashew flavor came to be because during their demos, customers approached them looking for cashew-flavored ice cream. Their turmeric spice flavor was supposed to be a seasonal special; but due to repeated requests from their customers, turmeric spice is now part of their regular menu and is one of their best selling flavors.
Mr. Dewie’s has also partnered with local businesses such as San Francisco’s Tcho to produce the Hot Cocoa, Oakland’s Ocho candy to produce the Ocho Coco Choco and San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery to produce their espresso ice cream. Currently, they are working with Oakland’s Paulista to develop an açai flavor, Berkeley’s Timeless Coffee to develop a cold brew flavor, and San Francisco’s Guittard to bottle Mr. Dewie’s vegan hot fudge for distribution.
Initially, Mr. Dewie’s used almond milk in their products. However, through their partnership with a local nut butter company, they realized that cashew nut, though pricier than almonds, may be a more stable commodity in the long run and just provides a better base for ice cream.
Through experimentation, they found that if they did not pump extra air, they could produce an ice cream that is more dense than dairy ice cream. They also found that using organic cane sugar helped produce silky ice cream. The result is smooth, creamy, and flavorful ice cream that is arguably better than traditional ice cream. Mr. Dewie’s cashew ice cream is low in saturated fat, has zero cholesterol, and is high in protein since each serving is made with more than an ounce of cashews.
Mr. Dewie’s offers fun and interesting flavors. Their banana nut is like eating a creamy banana nut bread. The roasted cashew is rich and should not be missed. The chocolate orange chip is delectable with a fantastic balance of chocolate and orange flavors. The caramel almond crunch is fantastic with its velvety caramel taste and pleasing almond crunch with every bite. The mocha chip is the perfect combination of cocoa, espresso, and chocolate chunks. The turmeric spice is a pleasant surprise with its combination of turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and other spices. Other flavors include coconut, strawberry, green tea, lemon crème, mint chip, and seasonal flavors.
Now that we are enjoying warm California days, head to Mr. Dewie’s and enjoy their delightfully luscious confections. Lactose tolerant, lactose intolerant, gluten lover, gluten sensitive…everyone can scream for ice cream at Mr. Dewie’s.