HOLIDAY 2021 - Page 66

wildgood . com

Wildly Good Wildgood is a vegan dessert option for the holiday season – and every season !

When Sotiris Tsichlopoulos opened the first To Pagoto ice cream shop in the suburbs of Athens , Greece in 2008 , he made a lasting impression on the local community with his delectable dairy-based ice cream . In the years that followed , Sotiris opened several additional shops and began to experiment with selling non-dairy flavor options in his stores . After receiving exceptionally positive feedback from his customers , Sotiris began to toy with the idea of creating a plant-based ice cream that made use of one of Greece ’ s most prized natural products : extra virgin olive oil . Sotiris was born into a long lineage of olive farmers and spent many of his boyhood days wandering through the fields of his family ’ s olive groves .

Over the next eight years , Sotiris tinkered with the recipe for an olive oil-based ice cream while he continued to build up his flourishing dairy-based ice cream operation . After nearly a decade of fastidious research and experimentation , he concocted a batch of plant-based ice cream that was well-rounded , pleasing to the palate , and immensely satisfying . Sotiris then established a connection with U . S . -based investor and businessman Alan Schwartz . Together , they laid plans for their product to launch in the American market . Wildgood was subsequently incorporated in January 2020 in Montpelier , Vermont . Over the following 18 months , Wildgood ’ s staff worked with a dedicated team of marketers , artists , and consultants to develop a solid business strategy and design the packaging for the products . The entire development process was overseen by a driven young CEO named Shay DiCocco . To DiCocco , Wildgood is far more than just a product – it ’ s an important step forward in the evolution of the plant-based food industry .
“ Here at Wildgood , we believe that tasty and affordable natural plant-based food products with high-quality ingredients should be available to everyone ,” says DiCocco . “ Wildgood is not a product that ’ s designed
64 VERMONT MAGAZINE by food scientists in a lab out in Silicon Valley . It ’ s built by an artisan chef in Greece . All of the olive oil used in Wildgood ’ s products is hand-pressed at family-owned olive farms that use sustainable harvesting practices , and the results are truly spectacular .”
According to DiCocco , the same farm-fresh olive oil that is responsible for Wildgood ’ s rich and gratifying consistency and taste also offers a wide variety of health benefits . “ The inspiration behind Wildgood is deeply rooted in the Mediterranean diet , which is arguably one of the healthiest diets in the world . Olive oil has been proven to be a critical part of what makes the Mediterranean diet so healthy . It ’ s rich in antioxidants and healthy fats , and it also has anti-inflammatory properties . It also happens to be a wonderful base for a plant-based ice cream .”
In addition to high quality hand-pressed extra virgin olive oil , all of Wildgood ’ s flavors are made with real , fresh ingredients instead of heavily-processed “ natural flavorings .” Wildgood flavors currently include vanilla bean , chocolate , coffee , mango , chocolate hazelnut , mint chocolate chip , pistachio , and sea salt caramel . They plan to add several more flavors in the near future . “ There ’ s beginning to be an awareness in the U . S . market that so-called ‘ natural flavors ’ are not made through truly natural means ,” says DiCocco . “ Here at Wildgood , we ’ re committed to transparency surrounding the ingredients that we use in our products . For our mango flavor , we use real Alphonso mangoes . We use organic Costa Rican coffee beans for our coffee flavor , and pistachios from the Pacific Northwest for our pistachio flavor . Our base formula is incredibly simple . We don ’ t use artificial binders and fillers , because we want to keep our products as wholesome and natural as possible .”
Wildgood is currently expanding its rollout operation throughout the State of Vermont , as well as several locations in major cities , such as Chicago and New York City . As
Wildgood continues to grow its market reach , DiCocco is encouraged by the reactions of both high-profile food critics and customers who sample the product . “ When we saw The New York Times headline that said ‘ Olive Oil Conquers the Plant-Based Dessert ,’ it reaffirmed everything that we ’ ve been working towards . We currently have a truck driving all around New England and the Mid-Atlantic giving out free samples of our product . Many people don ’ t even know that it ’ s plant-based when they taste it for the first time . They just think it tastes great . When they are told that the ice cream that they just tasted is non-dairy , many of them react with complete disbelief . A lot of people have tried non-dairy ice cream in the past and been turned off by it , but Wildgood is different . It ’ s truly a ‘ flavor-first ’ product . As plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity , Wildgood certainly fills that niche , but it also stands on its own as a product in terms of its taste . Wildgood isn ’ t just for vegans or vegetarians . It ’ s perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious natural indulgence without any artificial ingredients .”

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