Why is soul food great? Because it is made with love. It is the same reason your mom’s chicken soup cures your cold and why your Grandmother’s meatballs are without comparison. The thought and care that goes into creating these dishes is what make them special. And this care can be seen in products that are developed and sold throughout the city.
I had the opportunity to meet Mike Rosenthal, founder of Jawea Frozen Desserts. Mike is also the creative force behind the product lineup and very much the company evangelist. He might enjoy talking about the history and culture behind food as much as me (and anyone who waxes-poetic about the subtle nuances of Vietnamese Cinnamon is probably someone I want to hangout with.)
The passion Mike speaks with carries over to his dairy-free frozen desserts. The company currently has 3 flavors in the market, Salty Dulce No Leche and two types of Horchata (bourbon vanilla and dark chocolate.) For the uninitiated, Horchata is a drink usually made with ground nuts or rice steeped in water with some added spices; it will sometimes have a cinnamon or pumpkin pie taste. I grew up in San Diego where you can get Horchata at most Mexican restaurants and full disclosure, it is something I really like and am always looking for the drink in the city.
Mike invited me and fellow Full Access NYC’er Elissa Gilbert for a tasting. The product is completely dairy free and uses a coconut cream base. It is also gluten-free, soy-free and vegan. What was I getting myself into? Well, this is where Mike really shines when he created the flavors in his frozen desserts. They were complex yet balanced and the texture was great. We tried each flavor twice, and I preferred the second round after the dessert had sat in room temperature for a few extra minutes (but I say the same thing for traditional ice cream as well.) All the flavors were delightful and as biased as I am toward anything chocolate I would say the Salty Dulce was my favorite of the evening.
Jawea is currently found in specialty and natural food stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn and parts of Northern New Jersey and looking to expand beyond the tri state area. Next year they are also planning to introduce a couple more flavors into their lineup. I am looking forward to seeing all the new developments coming from Mike’s company (and getting to pick up a few pints in the store as well.)