Free ice cream NYC: Van Leeuwen celebrates 10 years with scoop giveaway

Most birthdays are celebrated with cake.

That’s not the case for the artisan ice cream shop Van Leeuwen, which will observe its 10th anniversary Tuesday by giving away free scoops of two special flavors.

Launched out of a buttery yellow truck driving the streets of New York City in spring 2008, the company is celebrating its birthday by returning to its itinerant roots. Van Leeuwen — which now has not only a fleet of trucks, but eight brick-and-mortar locations in Manhattan and three in Brooklyn — will hand out free scoops in the Flatiron District, Chelsea and Brooklyn Bridge Park from one of its signature trucks Tuesday afternoon.

Passers-by (and pilgrims) will have their choice of two commemorative flavors: Gianduja X, a chocolate-hazelnut ice cream packed with candied hazelnuts, chocolate chips and a white chocolate swirl; and vegan passion fruit, which comes in the same shade as the trucks and starts with a coconut and cocoa butter vegan base mixed with pastel almonds and vegan matcha cake pieces. The former is a throwback to one of the first flavors one of the two Van Leeuwen brothers, Ben, designed and tested in his Greenpoint apartment in 2007.

Grab your free frozen treat at one of these stops:

  • The High Line/Chelsea Market (noon to 1:30 p.m.)
  • Union Square (2:30 to 4 p.m.)
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park (5 to 6:30 p.m.)

The truck tour is all part of Van Leeuwen co-founders Laura O’Neill and Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen’s aggressive plans to expand their brand’s reach in retail. Three “micro” scoop shops have opened their doors in NoLIta, the Upper West Side and the Upper East, with two more on their way to SoHo and Prospect Heights. Each features an exclusive flavor inspired by the neighborhood; on the Upper East Side, for example, German Chocolate Cake pays homage to Yorkville’s historic German bakeries.

Van Leeuwen’s reputation is based on small-batch gourmet ice cream in flavors like vanilla bean, Sicilian pistachio and honeycomb, its line of creamy vegan ice creams and its pastel-colored pint packaging.