Boise Ice Cream Festival: At Wild Root, a Cone of Non-Dairy Delights 

click to enlarge HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
Ice cream can be a fickle thing—just ask a vegan, or someone with a gluten or dairy intolerance. More and more, there are dessert options for people with dietary restrictions in Boise, but at a panel put on by the Boise Ice Cream Festival at Wild Root Cafe on May 29, the consensus was that providing them is still difficult.

"If you don't prove to [businesses] that [people with dietary restrictions] are out there, they're never going to listen," said Hilary Lee of Gluten Free Galaxy.

click to enlarge HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
Lee's operation bakes gluten-free breads for local restaurants, and took second place in this year's Best of Boise Best Gluten-Free category. One of its clients, Lemon Tree, took first place. Others on the panel included health coach Jenn Williams, Chef Shel Leigh of Kula Connection, Chef Michael Trebbi of Wild Root Cafe, and Scott Wink of Boise's Best Bites.

Panelists had brought to the event some of their wares. Leigh brought ice creams made with non-dairy ingredients like oats and sweet potatoes, and Lee dispensed gluten-free scones. Others sampled vegan cheeses and falafel.

Many restaurants across Boise, including Wild Root, have responded to customers' dietary concerns. Since opening, the Eighth Street hotspot's number-one bestselling menu item has been its Power Bowl—a vegan option—but the restaurant has encountered roadblocks to sourcing.

"It's a real struggle to get ingredients and do those dishes," he said.

Things are getting easier, the panelists said, and Trebbi and Lee both said they are planning expansions: Wild Root is working on growing its footprint in its current space to add more seating and kitchen space, allowing Trebbi to possibly conduct cooking classes; and Lee said she is talking with Albertsons and Food Services of America on regional distribution of her breads. 

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