Especially during a summer heatwave, there's no better way to cool off than with ice cream or a milkshake. Unfortunately, the fact that it is traditionally dairy-based and chock full of other allergens means that too often those of us with dietary restrictions are left out from enjoying this simple treat.
Luckily, there's a little shop in London that is a game changer for anyone looking for free-from frozen treats: Yorica!
Located on a bustling street in Soho, stepping through the front doors of Yorica feel like going through a magic portal where suddenly everything you see is safe to eat. Not only is the shop dedicated gluten-free and vegan, everything they serve is free from the top 14 major allergens and is accredited by Allergy UK (more on that in a moment).
It's almost a bit disconcerting, but the real challenge in visiting Yorica is narrowing down what to order because the shop has a deliciously tempting menu of frozen treats, waffles, and crepes. With my eyes saucer-wide and my stomach leading my decision making, I almost couldn't contain my excitement even before I ate a single bite.
Going back to Yorica's impressive food allergy and vegan credentials, the shop is free from the top 14 allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, eggs, gluten, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, mustard, lupin, celery, sesame seeds, and sulphur dioxide. Everything they serve is made in a dedicated production unit and the staff are trained to assist with any questions. Should you want to review ingredients, they have binders on hand (and a link on their website) with more information for you to review. From a vegan stand point, they are Vegan Society registered and everything in their shop (from the food to the cleaning products) are vegan and cruelty-free.
Not only is Yorica a dream destination for any vegan, celiac, or anyone dealing with a food allergy, but they take an conscientious approach to their whole business model to ensure their operations are more customer-centric and environmentally friendly. I was impressed to read more about their decision to go cashless and operate with a focus on sustainability (read more below).
Visiting in the afternoon, but not wanting to totally lose my appetite for dinner, I decided to stick with their signature ice cream for my order. Yorica serves up this frozen delight in both its soft serve and traditional form (as well as shakes), but I stuck with the traditional treat.
After much deliberation, I ordered a two-scoop pairing of their mint and chocolate with the double chocolate cookie. The results, in a word, were absolute perfection. The mint was cooling and creamy with it's lovely peppermint flavor. Bits of chocolate cookie were swirled throughout, which totally delighted me. The chocolate cookie ice cream was rich and decadent without being heavy, which perfectly suited my needs as an afternoon snack.
The combination of the two flavors checked every box I have for discerning great ice cream. I love the flavor of mint and chocolate together and the juxtaposition of the creamy texture with the crunchy add-ins made every bite unforgettable. I've eaten a lot of gluten and dairy-free ice cream in my time, but Yorica's definitely stands out because it's simply delicious and the experience of ordering from a shop is something I rarely get to do.
My only regret was not visiting Yorica sooner. Why did I only stop by one my second-to-last day in the city? I definitely won't make this mistake again, and encourage you to make this a must-do stop on any itinerary in the city. I look forward to future visits and getting to explore more around the menu, and in the meantime will be dreaming of this magical shop across the pond far beyond the few weeks of summer we have left.