The Search for Non-Dairy in the Dairyland

Our writer sought out the best (and only) spots in the Valley that serve non-dairy ice cream. Here’s what she found

Sawyer Hoff, photos by Anna Sutton

DAIRY-FREELAND. Here's a guide to the best (and only) places in Chippewa Falls that sells dairy-free ice cream options.
AMERICA'S DAIRY-FREE LAND? Here's a guide to the best (and only) places in the Valley that sell dairy-free ice cream options.

Whether you are a vegan, lactose intolerant, or just want something light on a hot day, non-dairy ice cream options are super important. I am what I like to call a “mostly vegan”: I do my best to have an all plant-based diet (for environmental and dietary reasons) but will have the occasional non-vegan item – sometimes accidentally, sometimes not. 

Regardless, I only eat non-dairy ice cream because the alternative gives me too much tummy trouble. I called 15 – yes, 15 – different ice cream places in the Valley and found that only five sell non-dairy options. Three of those five places serve Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, which usually offers a variety of non-dairy options, so I went to all of those places anyway. My non-dairy-eating roommate, Anna, came with me to all five places so we could both give our honest feedback about their non-dairy options.

1. C & J’s Candy Store & Scoop Shoppe (342 Main St. E, Menomonie)

C&J’s, the first stop on our trek, serves Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. With one Italian ice flavor on the menu, we made our decision relatively easily. We got a scoop of the Raspberry Lemon Italian ice (with sprinkles, of course) and it was delicious. There is something about Chocolate Shoppe’s Italian ice that is so light and refreshing, and the consistency is super soft and amazing. We were happy.



2. Custer’s Cones (17183 50th Ave., Chippewa Falls)

Our second shop also sold Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, and again had only one non-dairy flavor. Luckily, this one was different, so we tried the Carrot Mango Italian ice. I was reluctant, because carrot ice cream? Yuck. But it was by far the best. It had that same amazing texture and it was perfectly sweet.


3. Olson’s Ice Cream (80 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire)

My roommate and I had been to Olson’s several times, so we knew they had some good stuff. We were pleasantly surprised to see we had not one but two options we could choose from. We got the strawberry banana sorbet, which we had mixed feelings about. If you’re looking for a non-dairy ice cream substitute with the closest texture to ice cream, this is your guy. But it didn’t have as much flavor as the Italian ices. I gave it a “yay,” but my roommate said “nay.”





4. Ramone’s Ice Cream (503 Galloway St., Eau Claire)

Again, we had been to Ramone’s quite a few times and have always loved the soy ice cream flavors to death. Ramone’s is arguably the best-smelling place in the Valley since they make all of their waffle cones in-house. We were heartbroken to find that they had no soy flavors that day, but they did have three Italian ice flavors. Because we had already tried two of them earlier in our journey that day, we chose the remaining option, Electric Watermelon. Honestly, we were a little sick of the Italian ice and wanted to switch it up. Luckily, Ramone’s offers slushes, which combine an Italian ice flavor with lemonade. A non-dairy-eater’s milkshake, if you will. It was sourer than we had expected, but quite delicious. We even got a cherry on top, which was, in fact, the cherry on top.


5. Casey’s Creamery (4740 Keystone Crossing, Eau Claire)

Casey’s only sells their non-dairy flavors in quarts, which was fine, because that just meant more for later. I was elated to see that they had two different non-dairy flavors that were not fruity. I picked up an Oatmeal Cookie quart and a Pumpkin Spice quart, and let me just say: wow. They were both amazing and provided a perfect way to end this non-dairy day.