Van Leeuwen — which launched as a New York City food truck in 2008 but has grown to 30-plus locations in eight states — opened in Boulder in early August and Denver in September. You may have seen (and passed over) their odd pints, like a macaroni and cheese flavor or Grey Poupon, in area Walmart or Sprouts locations. But there are plenty of standard flavors like strawberry, chocolate fudge brownie, peanut butter brownie chip, and on and on. And they’re technically French ice creams, with twice as many egg yolks for a lavish, richer feel.

They’re made simply with milk, cream, cane sugar and egg yolks, according to the branding, which denounces tough-to-pronounce ingredients. And there’s a lengthy vegan lineup made with oats or cashews, coconuts and cocoa butter. The in-store menu’s very friendly with allergy info, including nuts, soy and gluten warnings.

We drop in at the tiny Larimer Square shop (with just three tables for sitting) and study the digital menu as the friendly staff offers free samples. I can’t resist a try of the exclusive-to-this-location raspberry-blueberry sorbet made with Crooked Stave sour rosé — it’s light, fruity with a faint hint of the ale, and lovely. But we’re in a mood to be naughtier. (Single scoops are $6.25, so there’s better value in going for two at $8.35 or three for $10.45, and sharing.) We order a raspberry layer cake milkshake with oat milk and something called The Works: any two scoops plus cookies & cream crumble, hot fudge, whipped cream (vegan or regular), and honeycomb, which is actually a caramel candy, not a bee thing.

(On the website it explains: “That all might seem confusing until you realize that ice cream is also made without ice. Your whole life has been a lie.”) Anyway, the milkshake’s divine and flavor-true, and we opt for a pumpkin cheesecake special ice cream flavor and a vegan dark choc pumpkin pie scoop for The Works. Its frothy whipped cream comes topped with a gourmet Maraschino cherry (not one of the fake, bright red nasties) and the crunchy garnishes add welcome texture contrast. Both ice cream flavors are epic but the vegan’s supreme with bitter dark chocolate depth.

I hope they don’t open one of these in the Springs in the coming years. I don’t need this much temptation in my life.

Food & Drink Editor

Matthew Schniper is the Food and Drink Editor at the Colorado Springs Indy. He began freelancing with the Indy in mid-2004 and joined full-time in early 2006, contributing arts, food, environmental and feature writing.