NEW YORK — Extra virgin olive oil is the stealthy star ingredient in Wildgood, a new brand of non-dairy frozen desserts developed by a Greek artisanal ice cream maker. Sotiris Tsichlopoulos tapped his family’s olive groves to create a plant-based treat that has a creamy texture and low saturated fat content with no hint of olive oil taste.
“I started selling dairy-based ice cream in my first store in Athens, Greece, 13 years ago, but shortly after it became apparent to me that people were seeking non-dairy alternatives,” Mr. Tsichlopoulos said. “For example, when I created a non-milk-based chocolate flavor it would sell out within an hour of opening my store. I even had customers calling me to order more over the phone. Knowing this, I set out to create the non-dairy ice cream of the future by using a healthier fat alternative, extra virgin olive oil, as the main ingredient. Olive oil has long been a part of Greek culture and known as one of nature’s ‘good fats.’”
Mr. Tsichlopoulos tinkered with the formulation for eight years. A key challenge, he noted, was “oil and water do not mix.” Now, the product line is debuting in select retailers in the Northeast and will be available for purchase online beginning in May. Wildgood is backed by Gary Hirshberg, co-founder and former chief executive officer of Stonyfield Farm, along with Orgain founder Andrew Abraham and celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
“Our team of investors appreciates that we are artisan-made and believe in our vision for creating a healthier planet with plant-based foods that don’t sacrifice taste,” Mr. Tsichlopoulos said.
Flavors include sea salt caramel, mint chocolate chip, chocolate, chocolate hazelnut, mango, pistachio, coffee and vanilla bean. Mr. Tsichlopoulos said he has tested 300 flavors and plans to introduce more options soon.
“We envision a future where plant-based foods are the norm,” he said. “And not just plant-based alternatives created in a lab, but food using real ingredients made by chefs and artisans that just happen to be plant-based.”