With two all-vegan spots, pizza shop Peace o' Pie and Asian eatery Grasshopper, Allston's Union Square neighborhood already has a deserved reputation as a Boston vegan dining destination. But what about smart eats for the sweet-toothed set?
Enter FoMu, Union Square's new alternative ice-cream shop. Open since June, this 100-percent-animal-product-free establishment serves up ice cream and sorbet — all coconut-based and sweetened with agave and unrefined cane sugar. (Some vegans may want to ask about the toppings, though, as the sugar in the jimmies and Oreos may not be suitable for all.)
FoMu's rich, dairy-free ice cream — made in small batches at their Watertown kitchen — are some of the most delicious I've tasted in my 4.5 years of veganism. (Sizes range from small to large, prices from $3.75 to $5.60; pints are $6.95.) The ones to start with are the more complex: salted caramel, pistachio cardamom (a sweet spice from India), Thai peanut. My favorite was the Dark & Stormy. Modeled after the drink, it's ginger ice cream with fresh pieces of ginger, plus rum and a hint of lemon. Other boozy flavors include Cherry Amaretto, and Limoncello. (XVXs, beware!)
Also delicious was a mix of peanut butter ice cream with a scoop of Cookies & Cream, topped with a COCO cookie crumble. Other topping options include veg-friendly gummy bears, mochi, almond-cream-based hot fudge, and vegan whipped coconut cream.
For fans of simpler flavors, the shop carries vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The coconut stands out more in some of the lighter flavors, like avocado or black raspberry. But it works surprisingly well — their green smoothie, a mixture of avocado ice cream with your choice of non-dairy milk (I had almond), plus flax, spirulina, and agave, ends up tasting like a cross between a green drink and a Samoa cookie. The smoothie menu offers many combinations of fruit, non-dairy milks, and ice cream; some with added protein. Those new to vegan-friendly ice cream way be wondering: why does this place only offer a coconut-based dairy alternatives? Coconuts not only taste great (they're often used as an alternative to soy for making delicious vegan-friendly milks and yogurts) but have also long been used in traditional and natural medicine for their antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory powers. If coconut just isn't your thing, FoMu even stocks a few coconut-free fruit sorbets. And if you need a caffeine fix? FoMu's coffee is some of the best-tasting in Allston ($1.95 for a small, $2.50 for a large, $2.95 for large iced). It comes from George Howell Coffee, a local roaster in Acton, MA. The house blend is a medium Colombian brew, El Roble, a full-bodied coffee with a hint of dark chocolate. To complement your java, FoMu carries vegan/gluten-free cookies and cinnamon rolls made by Veggie Galaxy. They sell Taza chocolate, too.
In short: this place rules, and makes for a welcome sweet addition to Allston's vegan strip.
FOMU, located at 481 Cambridge St., Allston, is open Sunday-Thursday, 11am-11pm, and Friday-Saturday, 11am-12am. Call 617.903.3276 or visit fomuicecream.com.