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Mooove Over Dairy

By Katelynn Staples


Thai Chili Peanut, Mango Habanero, and Bourbon Maple Walnut are just a few of the flavors you will find at FoMu Ice Cream (think “Faux Moo”), because this is not an ordinary ice cream shop — it is completely vegan. While contemplating a business venture, husband and wife duo and long-time ice cream lovers Hin Tang and Deena Jalal decided to create their own plant-based coconut milk ice cream company. Make no mistake — this ice cream is not only for those who prefer dairy-free diets, but it sure is a bonus.

“Just because you’re eating dessert doesn’t mean you have to be eating chemicals,” said Jalal, who believes that food advocacy and education are more important than ever.

FoMu is dedicated to using non-GMO foods, sourcing locally when possible, and creating everything from scratch using raw ingredients. The company uses mostly coconut milk and organic agave for the base and adds fresh fruits from local farms, chunks of homemade baked goods, and organic spices.

“We try to trigger more than one sense in every bite,” Jalal said of the sweet, spicy, and cold mixtures. 

You can bet each bite packs a punch, too, because FoMu’s product, like gelato, uses 25 percent less air than traditional ice cream. This ensures intense flavor and a creamy consistency. At first, FoMu had a hard time expanding its menu due to the challenge of finding ethical ingredients, but food integrity was too important to give up.

“All of our customers are thoughtful people,” said Jalal. “They’re educated about food, and they want to invest in a more thoughtful product. A lot of people are starting to value that information about food is becoming available.”

FoMu is one of many vegetarian restaurants that has opened in the last 10 years in Boston, along with Veggie Galaxy, True Bistro, and Red Lentil, as plant-based diets have become increasingly popular. In fact, FoMu’s original location is situated within a pocket of vegan restaurants in Allston — next to Whole Heart Provisions, which serves custom grain bowls, and Grasshopper, an eatery serving Asian cuisine.

Since its opening in 2011, FoMu has expanded to two other locations: Jamaica Plain and the South End. As a nod to the neighborhood, FoMu partners with local chefs to create limited-time flavor creations, such as Pistachio and Lemon Zested Shortbread, Smoked Chocolate Hazelnut Honeycomb, and Sweet Tea with Peach and Ginger. Sweet or savory, light or rich, there is truly something for everyone.  

A wide variety of Bostonians eat at FoMu, ranging from those who are passionate about animal rights and those with dietary restrictions, to those who have simply become hooked on the delicious treats. Avocado ice cream is a favorite among customers. Made with creamy avocado and lime, it is a treat that Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen are known to indulge in. Other favorites include seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Caramel and Apple Cider Donut in the fall, and Blueberry Shortbread and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie in the summer.

During those summer months, FoMu’s Watertown creamery makes 1,000 to 2,000 gallons of ice cream per week. The ice cream is distributed to the three storefronts, to specialty food stores, and to Whole Foods Markets in the Boston area, where FoMu pints are available for purchase. Although FoMu is more expensive than traditionally manufactured ice cream, you certainly get what you pay for. For a few bucks extra, you get to enjoy a gourmet treat, know your food’s origins, and support many local businesses. While Peanut Butter Mud Pie, Chocolate Pudding, and Espresso Bean all sound delectable, FoMu offers more than just ice cream. Aside from gluten-free ice cream cones, ice cream cakes, and frappes, FoMu’s menu includes baked goods just like the ones from your childhood. There are Magic Bars, F’Ostess Cupcakes (get it?), and cream-filled cookie sandwiches, all homemade with unrefined and organic sweeteners.  

During the summer months, FoMu’s brownies, cookies, and ice cream also make their way around Boston at pop-up locations. Not in the Boston area? FoMu ships its pints — in eco-friendly packaging — anywhere in the lower 48, and Jalal says they would love to eventually expand to other metropolitan areas. If you are lucky enough to live in our diverse city, be sure to cool off with a creamy cone this summer, or pop in for coffee and a cupcake before a weekend stroll.; @fomuicecream

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