Last month when the founders of Perfect Day announced they’d launched a spinout called The Urgent Company to create science-forward food products that are earth-friendly, I got an email asking me if I’d like to try their first product: Brave Robot ice cream.
I figured why not? While I may not be a professional ice cream critic, the hundreds of gallons I’d logged in my life solidly place me in the ice cream enthusiast category.
In case you’re not familiar with the concept of animal-free dairy, here’s how Catherine Lamb described Perfect Day’s dairy, which is the same formula used in the new Brave Robot line up:
Perfect Day makes its dairy by genetically modifying microflora to produce the two main proteins in milk: casein and whey. They combine the dried proteins with plant fats, water, vitamins and minerals to make a lactose-free product that has the same properties — taste, consistency, and nutritional breakdown — of milk.
A few days later, the flavor lineup that landed on my doorstep was as follows: Vanilla, Buttery Pecan, PB ‘N Fudge, and Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk. I immediately got to “work”.
Any combo of peanut butter and chocolate usually can’t miss, so that’s where I started. It didn’t disappoint. The thick veins of fudge and peanut butter were as yummy as they sound, and maybe more importantly, the science-forward ice cream didn’t taste weird, or well, science-y, at all.
The other flavors were just as tasty. The nutty flavor of Hazelnut with big chocolate chunks was my son’s favorite, and my wife liked the crunchy Butter Pecan. Vanilla was vanilla, but in a good way.
After trying all four, I can say all were smooth and creamy, flavorful and, most importantly, tasted just like dairy-based ice cream. I’ve had lots of plant-based ice cream, and while most taste pretty good (if you’re ever in Seattle, I’d strongly recommend Frankie & Jo’s coconut milk ice cream), none had ever fooled my taste buds into thinking they weren’t made with dairy. Not so with Brave Robot.
My family all liked Brave Robot too, but unlike me, they didn’t care as much about the impressive science behind it. Sure, I tried to explain to them how it had the same proteins found in dairy but without the downsides of milk (like lactose), but they just nodded, said ‘huh’, and spooned more into their mouth. To them, it was just good ice cream.
And I suppose that’s the point.