Say hello to Naomi! She’s the creator of Say Hello Sweets, Canada’s first 100% vegan ice cream truck! Check out the interview for more on how her pup, BabyCakes was the inspiration for it all… The truck is always moving around in the Summer, but in the winter you can find her most popular ice cream flavours (like Café No Lait, Notorious NOG, Mint to Be) online on her website or some retailers across Vancouver. Plus, she just started a Kickstarter Campaign to help her open a store front of her own (with a super cute video of how it all began). I’m always excited to see new plant-based companies taking the leap, so I had to interview Naomi! (And get a recipe from her of course…)
Hooked On Plants: Say Hello Sweets is the cutest vegan ice cream truck! What was the catalyst in starting your company?
Naomi Arnaut: My dog, actually. I know that sounds like a really weird way to start a business, but I first tried my hand at making ice cream as way to fundraise for a hefty vet bill. My dog, Babycakes, had fully ruptured her knee cap & the only option I had to get her surgery was to finance it. A few months later, the payments were really weighing me down, so I was looking for a creative way to do some fundraising. It was in the middle of an August heatwave, & I had this AH HA moment & thought, I will make ice cream & host a small social by donation. That was the start of Say Hello Sweets.
HOP: Word on the street is that you may have an ice cream delivery tricycle one day soon? When can we expect that and where did you find the tricycle?
NA: YES! The trike has proven to be more of a challenge to build than I had originally anticipated, but it’s slowly coming together. The trike itself is a late 1940’s vintage ride, & needs a lot of love. It was generously gifted to me from a family friend who’s had it sitting for the past 10 or so years. I feel very lucky to have it & can’t wait til it’s functional!
HOP: How long have you been vegan
NA: When I was 11, I came across an un-shelved book on factory farming at the local library. I went home & declared that I was now a vegetarian. My mom was supportive. It stuck for 7 years, with the last year being vegan. In my late teens, I was having health problems & when doctors couldn’t find an answer, I was talked into eating meat as a solution. It was right at the height of the popularity of that book “Eat Right For Your Blood Type”, which labelled me as a carnivore based on having O negative blood. I wish I had had the access to the information & the community around veganism that I do now, back then. If I had, I never would have gone back to including animal products in my diet. I ate meat sporadically throughout my 20’s, but am very happy to be back on track now & feeling better than ever. Oh, & I finally did get a proper diagnosis for my mysterious illness. I had reoccurring appendicitis, for over 2 years. I needed surgery, not meat.
HOP: What do you use as the base to your ice creams?
NA: I use full fat coconut milk & for flavours where I want to tone down the coconut flavour, I use a house made cashew milk.
HOP: Where can we find your ice cream truck on a typical day? And, how can we try your ice cream if we can’t make it to your truck?
NA: Fall has arrived with full force, so the truck season has come to a close. In the summer, truck locations are posted on The Street Food App & on the website. I don’t have a stationary location, so the truck moves around the city, participating in festivals, farmers markets or just parks curb side. If you can’t find the truck, head over to Friendly, located at 2408 Main St. It is a sweet little eatery that has Say Hello ice cream by the scoop & by the pint.
HOP: What’s the crowd favourite ice cream flavour?
NA: Stay ‘Mallow, which is the toasted marshmallow flavour, really dominated this summer. Close seconds were Cafe No-lait & Chocolate Nirvana.
HOP: What are your 3 tips for starting a business?
- Ask for help.
- Build community.
- Stay true to your values.
Just for fun – what are 3-5 things you can’t you live without in your morning routine?
- 20 extra minutes in bed after the alarm clock has sounded is a non-negotiable.
- Breakfast! Always breakfast.
- A brisk walk with Babycakes, with a coffee in hand.
Hooked On People Interview with Say Hello Sweets + Vegan Coffee Ice Cream Recipe
A dairy-free coffee ice cream. This is an ultra creamy and scoopable ice cream made with coconut milk!
Recipe type: Dessert
- 3 cups full fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup cane sugar
- ½ cup agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot, tapioca starch or guar gum
- In a blender, combine instant espresso, salt, vanilla extract, coconut milk & starch of your choice. Blend on high till everything is nice and smooth.
- Pour out all of this mixture into a saucepan.
- To the filled saucepan, add sugar, agave syrup & coconut oil. Stir over low heat until coconut oil and sugar have fully melted and mixture is warm.
- Whisk until the mixture comes to a soft boil. This is to cook out the starch and thicken the mix. But, remember to whisk whisk whisk so no lumps form!
- Once it has come to a soft boil, turn heat off and transfer mixture into a bowl or measuring cup. Cover with cling film and make sure to press it against the surface of the mixture so a skin does not form.
- Cool for 1 hour in the fridge or in an ice bath then churn in ice cream maker. Once out of the ice cream maker, place in an airtight ice cream or tupperware box, cover, & freeze to allow it to further firm up. Or eat it straight from the ice cream machine!