Ice Cream That’s Good for Ewe?

No, I am not bleatin’ kidding you. Sheep’s milk ice cream has some tangible health benefits, and – because it’s not made with cow’s milk — it’s often a viable alternative for people with lactose and milk protein issues.

(Lactose intolerance is fodder enough for another post, or more, so here’s the short version. Lactose is a sugar, which is broken down by the cheesemaking process, so aged cheeses are a better option. Intolerance to milk protein — aka amino acid — is a different animal; sheep’s and goat’s milk have shorter amino acid chains than cow’s milk, making them overall easier to digest.)

Seems like people should be flocking to sheep’s milk ice cream, but if you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. In 2011, it was all but unheard of in the United States when Alexis Negranti started making it at her Negranti Creamery in Paso Robles. That struck her as curious because sheep’s milk ice cream was “very popular in other countries,” she noted.

“So many people are looking for a cow’s milk alternative these days, and sheep’s milk is sweet and creamy, so it makes a beautiful milk for ice cream,” Negranti said. It also doesn’t have the “tang” that most goat’s milk products have – a taste that people seem to either love or hate.

So it’s sweet and creamy, so what? Sounds like any old ice cream, right? Wrong!

“Sheep’s milk ice cream is higher in protein, vitamins, and minerals than traditional cow’s milk,” Negranti explained. “I call it the miracle milk!”

According to the Negranti Creamery website, “our ice cream is less than 8% fat and has these health benefits as well! Sheep’s milk is richer in vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Sheep’s milk is higher in protein than other forms of milk. Sheep’s milk is lower in saturated fat than other types of milk.”

Miracle indeed! And if you don’t believe those claims, just compare the nutritional labels for yourself.

Of course, as with all things good and yummy, some moderation is advised … darn it all. But, if you’re looking for a cool, sweet treat to beat the summer heat, sheep’s milk ice cream really isn’t all that baaad.

— By Katy Budge

p.s. Here’s a look at some locally made ice creams (and a gelato) in San Luis Obispo County!

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