Alona Dadiani + Vivi Rama of NoMoo Wise Cream
Here’s a product for all my vegans and friends that follow soy, dairy and/or gluten free diets! NoMoo wise cream is a delicious “ice cream” handmade here in Southern California! I had the chance to meet with the lovely owners, Alona and Vivi, in their shared kitchen space while they showed me how they make their wise cream from scratch! These ladies sure know how to make incredible tasting frozen wise cream! I highly suggest trying out their product, and for those of you who don’t follow any dietary restrictions I think you too would even love NoMoo! Check out my interview with Alona and Vivi and how they decided to create such a great product!
Having both come from backgrounds that are not associated with food, what was the draw to start a food product and become involved in this industry? Was there always an underlying love for cooking?
“Love of cooking-check! I (Alona) am originally from Israel. My birth mom was a Moroccan chef and vividly imparted to me a love of marrying different whole foods, spices and simple ingredients to make both unique and complex dishes. My father was also a merchant marine captain, so I spent significant stretches of the first 7 years of my life traveling the world, exposed to various cuisines.
Vivi, originally born in Buenas Aires to Spanish parents (both originally from Galicia in Northern Spain) also had exposure to foreign indigenous staples and learned to appreciate great cuisine from early on in her life. Also, as a professional bass player who traveled internationally, world cuisine was an important influence. In short, even though our backgrounds and initial vocations (Alona is also a certified personal trainer in the private sector as well as a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School with a BFA in acting), food was always an integral bind in each of our lives.”
Why did you decide to create a dairy, soy and gluten free as you cleverly call it, “wise cream”? What was the importance to you both in creating this specific product?
“In truth, with the exception of wanting to make a dairy free “ice cream”, we never set out to create a “soy & gluten free” product. What started out for us as a love of the idea to create something that was sorely lacking in the market, in terms of purity (i.e., not using particular stabilizers and emulsifiers), morphed into a deeper understanding of making an even healthier, nourishing yet still delectable alternative. Now creativity in terms of flavors with our two distinct bases is the only limit!”
Do you both follow dairy, soy and gluten free diets?
“We are both practicing vegans. When we started making this “wise cream,” we were actually still both consuming dairy but shortly after learning more about the dairy industry, we opted to eliminate dairy from our diets. We also learned more about soy/its GMO prevalence and some potentially detrimental side effects, so we mostly consume fermented soy and, occasionally, other forms of it. This all propelled us to focus wholly on developing the best alternatives to suit our distinctive diet. And we wanted to extend the gamut to many who have either been long practicing vegans or are shifting their perceptions, dietary needs and lifestyles to reflect what we believe is a growing evolution in our relationships with food and its sources. Lastly, no, we’re not gluten free. Just try and come between Vivi and her bread! But we still happily cater to our costumers who are.”
Were there any adjustments to working with food that you had to make?
“Our opting to make a “dairy, soy & gluten free” product got our creative juices going! We were first looking for the best way to achieve a creamy, delectable and stable base that we could use as a canvas to achieve what everybody loves about great ice cream…its reliable awesomeness! In terms of adjustments, the main one came in our Coconut base that we ended up sweetening with dates-this now offered an option to those who are avoiding any form of added cane sugar, are following the Paleo diet or have other such dietary needs.”
I loved your ChocoLoco flavor! What are both of your favorite NoMoo flavors?
“Thanks, Kristen! For Vivi, it’s hands down the Carajillo! This is how the Spaniards sometimes enjoy their shot of Espresso…with a kiss of cognac or brandy. It also reminds her of her afternoon “postre” (or dessert) following a family lunch. Distilling that into a NoMoo “wise cream” flavor was a proud moment! Alona is also very partial to the Carajillo-moslty because she’s a coffee fiend. But another top favorite is the classic Peanut Butter & Fudge. Although there are those allergic or critical of the legume, it’s a flavor that is so decadent and full, it’s hard to resist. The Fudge has become sought after member and even requested on its own-we’re now packaging it separately as a topping to any of our other unique flavors (like the Peppermint Candy Bliss and Coconut Vanilla Date-Full-made with whole Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla bean pods) …or as a spread!”
What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own business and creating a product you love?
Although, we’ve both run our own businesses up until now and still (Vivi as a bass player and Alona as an actor and personal trainer), without a doubt, the most gratifying aspect of our unbridled dedication to our company is the positive reaction we get from new and now established NoMoo fans. Also, when someone is truly seeking a product like ours that they can have because of legitimate, sometimes medically necessary dietary restrictions, and they actually love what they’re tasting…there’s nothing that matches the satisfaction we get when they feel like they’ve found that indulgence in NoMoo. Lastly, whenever someone says “I can’t believe this has no dairy!”
Where can we purchase your delicious NoMoo Wise Cream?!
“Sundays at The Hollywood Farmers’ Market, from 8AM-1PM (on Cosmo Street). On GoodEggsLA.com and at Viva La Vegan, in Santa Monica and Rancho Cucamonga.”
Written, Interviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich