I'm just going to put it out there: Being dairy intolerant sucks. What's worse, however, is how impossible it is to find dairy-free ice cream on a hot summer day (yeah, it was 93° F this week). After having been deprived of such cold and creamy pleasure for three years, I decided to tell my story to instruct those who've also suffered, on how to deliciously get through this unexpected heatwave.

The beginning of my journey

milkshake, dairy product, sweet, dairy, cream, yogurt, milk
Aakanksha Joshi

Exactly three years ago, I was diagnosed with gluten, lactose and fructose intolerances. After months and months of tests, I was sitting in the doctor's studio and hearing for the first time the much dreaded words: "You can't eat chocolate anymore." While I was obviously happy that nothing was seriously wrong, I was conscious that it was the start of a revolution. A tasteless revolution. 

Fortunately for me, some months after finding this out, I discovered that I could still eat dairy-free dark chocolate. I began slowly trying new recipes in an attempt to make me-friendly food and eventually, I managed to introduce some flavor back into my life after a year of eating rice and tuna. 

But then the third year arrived. The infamous third year in which I moved to London for college.

To give you a little bit of context, I am originally from a medium-sized city in Italy, where free-from food is practically impossible to find. In contrast, the UK seemed like paradise to me. Things escalated quickly and in March, I found myself tagged in a Facebook post about a place called Yorica! in Soho that made desserts free-from all of the main allergens.

Needless to say, that was on my soon-to-tick bucket list.

A delicious discovery

A few weeks later, I went to Yorica! with my boyfriend, and for the first time after three years, I ate crêpes with chocolate ice-cream and raspberry coulis. While I admit the texture of the crêpes was a little bit soggy and the dough a little too sugary — a flaw you often find in free-from food due to the variations of the ingredients — the taste was right there.

The creaminess of the chocolate ice-cream, the slightly sour and sweet, pleasantly sticky raspberry coulis, and the little, adorable white and pink mini-marshmallows to garnish it. 

My taste buds were dancing in a shower of pure happiness; I was feeling normal again. Because while people with intolerances know that we can survive without encountering too many problems, it always makes us a little bit sad when we go out with friends and we cannot have treats in the same way.

After such a successful first visit, it was obvious that it wasn't going to be my only visit to Yorica!. Soon after, lectures ended and I went out to celebrate with some friends. After dinner, we headed back to the free-from dessert haven, where I ordered a big cup of brownie, passion fruit and chocolate orange flavored ice-cream, with little brownies on top to add the final touch.

Final thoughts

I won't hide it, love at first sight became real with that place. For someone who's used to normal ice-cream, the difference between that and dairy-free ice-cream can be annoyingly evident. However, my friends — who don't have my same problems — loved it, and this makes me even more convinced that everyone — dairy intolerant or otherwise — should visit "Yorica!" Let's also not forget that, by banning all forms of dairy, this place becomes vegan-friendly as well. 

So, that was it — my first time after three whole years of forced dieting. What can I say? I don't really have a morally-fueled conclusion for this. But I can tell you one thing: never, ever, deprive yourself of life's guilty-pleasures. Too much is harmful, sure, but I strongly believe that so is too little. Make your taste buds enjoy their stay in this world and remember: Happiness is great, but food can definitely help you find it.

#SpoonTip: Food intolerances are a condition that can happen to anyone. However, their being common does not make them easy to diagnose. If you suspect to have this kind of problem, visit your GP and get diagnosed via reliable methods.