Briefly, a bit of background for those of you who haven’t read my blog before: I cannot eat refined sugar. Well, I can eat it, it just makes me feel terrible so I choose not to. Generally, I can tell when something has sugar in it because when I eat sugar, it feels kind of like someone’s stabbing the inside of my mouth with a million tiny pin pricks. I’m not sure if I’m allergic or intolerant, but so much as one tablespoon of jam is enough to make my tongue itch. Even if sugar weren’t an issue for me, though, as someone trying to get fit, eating regular ice cream is out of the question most of the time because of the amount of empty calories in it. Although ice cream was my favorite food as a kid, the process of becoming vegan, ditching sugar because I realized it was making me sick, and trying to get in shape has pretty much meant I’ve had to give up ice cream entirely. I can think of a handful of times that I’ve eaten it in the past 10 years.
But you know what, this entry’s not going to be me whining about what I can’t eat, it’s going to be about WINK!
Wink Frozen Dessert is a vegan, soy free, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, nut-free, non-GMO frozen confection. It is basically ice cream, though there’s no cream in it. At a mere 25 calories per serving, it’s a fitness freak’s dream, as you can eat an entire container of it and still only consume 100 calories.
I found Wink Frozen Desserts after they followed me on Tumblr. I post a lot in the vegan and sugarfree tags unsurprisingly, since my Instagram photos get cross posted to Tumblr and 98% of the stuff I post is food related. I took one look at their website and realized I needed to try their products ASAP.
As of this posting, their products are only sold in the NY and Philly areas, so as I mentioned in my previous post, when I traveled to Philly from Massachusetts a couple weeks ago to attend DS9 Con, I made it a mission to acquire some.
Currently, Wink offers four flavors: Iced Latte, Cocoa Dough, Cinnamon Bun, and Cake Batter. The shop we found in Philly only had three of the four flavors (they were missing Cake Batter, no doubt because they were sold out of it). Luckily, Wink was able to send me 2 pints of Cake Batter so I could review it too.
When we were in Philly, I wanted to make sure no one else in our hotel room accidentally (or “accidentally” ) ate my ice cream so I put my name on it:
I had similar feelings about the pints of cake batter I got in the mail:
…But how does it taste?!?
Ok ok hold on a sec. Before you start…
One thing I will suggest about eating this ice cream (and all vegan ice cream, for that matter): let it get just a little bit soft and melty before you dig in. I realize this is extremely difficult because it requires restraint, and vegan sugar free ice cream is JUST SO EXCITING that you want to eat it straight out the freezer, but it tastes a lot better when it’s given a chance to defrost a tiny bit. I believe this is something you should do for ALL ice cream (that’s why soft serve exists, right?), but it’s especially true for Wink. This is partially due to how cold affects the taste receptors on your tongue, but it also might be because of the sugar free nature of Wink.
Now that I’ve explained that, allow me to break it down flavor by flavor.
Cocoa Dough: I started with this flavor, because growing up, cookie dough was always my favorite. Though it lacks the chunks of cookie that so enthralled me as a child (which I admit disappointed me at first, but it’s probably for the best), it is still delicious. At first, I found this flavor to be a little “ice-y”, but after sampling it a few more times, I think I was stuffing my face with it too fast. Like I said above, this flavor definitely tastes better if you let it defrost for a couple minutes. Then your tongue can taste the cocoa a little more and it’s just so so so good.
Iced Latte: This is a coffee flavor, as the name suggests. When I had my first lick of this, I’m pretty sure I was instantly transported back to my childhood, where my mom was ordering a coffee ice cream for me at a local park on my Birthday and I was trying it for the first time ever (Salem Willows is the park, if you know it). I’m being serious. It’s been a VERY long time since I’ve had coffee ice cream, and that’s immediately what I thought of. I really missed this flavor! I felt the exact same excitement now as I did when I was a kid, like, “holy cow this is freaking delicious”.
Cinnamon Bun: There must be some kind of voodoo magic in this flavor, because it tastes exactly as the name suggests. And I should know, I am an expert on Cinnamon Buns (remember my pumpkin cinnamon bun recipe)? I’ve personally never seen a Cinnamon Bun ice cream before, so sorry if this is not news to you, but it is to me. This flavor rules. It’s really hard for me to choose a favorite, but this might be it. It was the most popular with my DS9 Con friends as well (though, to be fair, they didn’t get to try the next one).
Cake Batter: Eating this was my first foray into the world of Cake Batter ice cream, because I’m pretty sure it didn’t exist when I was a kid. I can see why Palm Tree Gourmet was sold out of this – it might be the best one. I dunno, though, I really like Cinnamon Bun too… and Cocoa Dough… Anyways! The texture of the cake batter is slightly creamier than the other flavors, closer to traditional ice cream. It tastes just like the yellow cake of birthday party fame. It doesn’t have sprinkles in it like most cake batter ice cream apparently does (I base this knowledge solely on pictures I’ve seen, having never eaten it before), but I don’t care. It is so good!
How does it compare to traditional ice cream? I can’t say for sure, as I haven’t eaten “real” ice cream in forever. Is it the same as regular ice cream? Obviously not. Eating a pint of it doesn’t fill you up quite the same way eating regular ice cream does, due to the lack of fat and sugar which might normally be sitting in your stomach like a brick. I don’t consider this a bad thing. I personally think Wink is better than regular ice cream, because I can eat it without feeling miserable afterwards. You may not agree.
Generally, I think that if you have spoiled taste buds from eating sugar and junk all the time, Wink may not taste that good to you, nor would most other healthy food. If, like me, you’re definitely NOT a sugar junkie, or you only eat it every once in a while, it is 100 calories of pure heaven. Who knows, though – the friends who I ate it with at DS9 con all eat sugar and they liked it too!
How does it compare to other sugar free ice cream? Most sugar free frozen desserts contain artificial sweeteners and aren’t vegan, so I’ve never tried any of them. The closest thing that I’ve seen (other than inSpiral’s raw vegan ice cream that I got when I lived in London and no longer have access to for obvious reasons) is the So Delicious brand of no sugar added coconut milk based ice cream. While the So Delicious stuff is good, it is still quite high in calories and is obviously not low fat, being made of coconut (which a lot of people are allergic to). It also has a coconut flavor that underscores the actual flavor of the ice cream, which not everyone is crazy about, though it doesn’t bother me. It also only comes in chocolate and vanilla, plus a mint chip one (supposedly they make two other flavors, but I’ve never seen them anywhere). The variety of flavors that Wink sells is a real treat in comparison. Like I said about Iced Latte above, being able to eat coffee flavored ice cream after ten+ years of not having it was fantastic. This, combined with the simpler ingredients in Wink, and the lack of fat, make me prefer Wink over So Delicious.
Price: Wink costs $8 a pint right now. Some people may say this is a lot, I think it’s pretty par for the course for specialty ice cream. Furthermore, I’ve said this millions of times but I’m gonna say it again – it is worth it to spend more on food that is better for you!
My only criticism of it is that it’s not organic (though the cocoa powder they use is) – however, it is Non-GMO which is the most important thing.
Actually, I have one other criticism – it’s not sold in the Boston area yet!! Wink have suggested on Facebook that expansion into my home state is happening soon, but for me, it can’t happen soon enough!
The only thing that might make Wink Frozen Desserts even better was if I could enjoy it out of a sugar free, vegan cone. Maybe someday. In the mean time, I’ve enjoyed it on waffles…
And in a “root beer float” (featuring ginger root Zevia):
Next up I wanna try making a banana split with it! I’ve never had one before, so I’ll let you know how it goes!
In conclusion, my feelings about Wink Frozen Desserts can be summed up in the following tweets:
I predict that Wink Frozen Desserts is going to be very popular. I can’t wait to see what else they come up with. My BFF Kate (Ell of The Farthest Star) said that the Wink mascot being a bean shaped scoop of ice cream made them wish Wink mochi ice cream existed – how awesome would that be?!? In the meantime, I’m just so grateful I can enjoy ice cream again.
Love and light -