It's obviously the Holy Grail in certain sectors of the frozen dessert industry: can there ever be something that tastes as amazing as ice cream, the world's greatest food, but is also low in calories, and in fat, and in sugar, and while you're at it how about making it lactose free, and gluten free, and, heck why not, even full-on vegan? The freezer section at Whole Foods is lousy with sad, tasteless failures in this quest but, incredibly enough, there's a tiny parlor on Orchard Street that seems to have cracked the code. And, in fact, is making a delicious treat packed with so many superfoods and vitamins that eating a scoop or three may allegedly ease your anxiety, boost your energy, and improve your health.
The place is called BIVE—some mash-up of Balance and Vitality and the word "vibe"—and it's run by Carla Noboa, who was born in Ecuador and lived in New York City for most of her life. Noboa, whose background is in nutrition and business, opened BIVE in the fall of 2018, and has continued honing her craft since along with a talented team that includes pastry chef Yasmeen Coplin. I ate four different scoops during a visit this week, sampled several other flavors, and can tell you that this is some very good not-really-ice-cream.
Is BIVE healthy though? Well, the ingredients purportedly are. The tangy and refreshing Boost Me Up, for example, includes passion fruit, collagen, chia seeds, and coconut water, and promises to "improve skin, joints, and gastrointestinal health."
The Soothe Me Up eats like a first-rate coconut chocolate chip, but also has a dose of valerian root in there that, they say, "aids anxiety while helping with sleep." The impressively creamy Pick Me Up features buzzy health-food ingredients like echinacea, aloe vera, soursop, and chia seeds; this one supposedly boosts the immune system, improves eye health and enhances gastrointestinal health "by removing toxins and salts from the body."
To be honest, though, the best flavor at BIVE is called Sexy Butter, a dense, intense concoction of peanut butter, chocolate chips, cocoa butter, coconut oil, coconut milk, cashew milk, and maca. Not sure what this one does, except make you happy that you're eating a nice dessert.
BIVE is currently scooping ten flavors (up from four when Noboa first opened), and they'll also make you a shake, an affogato, or an "ice cream" sandwich using a pair of Coplin's vegan cookies. On National Ice Cream Day, which is this Sunday, July 21st, you can get a double scoop for the price of single, plus a free Konery cone.
BIVE is located at 95 Orchard Street, between Delancey and Broome Streets, and is open daily from noon to 11 p.m. (646-707-0911; thegoodbive.com)