Blue skies and warm sun greeted lunch-goers at Civic Center Eats yesterday, where more than thirty trucks, trailers and carts served everything from Chinese-Mexican tacos to tater tots stuffed with bacon and cheddar. And while most of the attendees huddled under patio umbrellas for shade while enjoying their meals, there were plenty of vendors serving ice cream, popsicles and other frozen desserts to help cool off the crowd. Ba-Nom-a-Nom was one of those, with a menu of fruit-based soft-serve flavors; the truck will continue to roll into Civic Center Park every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 8.
For the past three years, Sarah Ladley has been serving unique frozen desserts from her tropical-colored truck with the phrase "What's on your spoon?" emblazoned on the back. With a degree in public health and nutrition, Ladley became interested in helping people make healthier food choices without sacrificing flavor, she says, so she starting working on creating an all-fruit dessert four years ago. She came up with a design for a machine that blends frozen fruit into an smooth, creamy consistency and had it custom-made by an equipment fabricator in Fort Collins, where she was living at the time. Over the course of a summer, she gave away most of her experiments to friends and family in exchange for feedback — and by the end of that summer, she had her recipes and technique dialed in.
The mixtures are made entirely of fruit and rely on either bananas (hence the name Ba-Nom-a-Nom) or watermelon as a base. "It's not super-sweet," Ladley explains, since there are no added sugars. "It's healthy and it's tasty."
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At first, she worried that Ba-Nom-a-Nom would be perceived as health food rather than as a delicious dessert, but she notes that most of her regular customers are just interested in a cool and tasty treat. But since the product is dairy-free and vegan, she has a growing number of fans who come to her because of their dietary restrictions.
The desserts are smooth like soft-serve ice cream or frozen yogurt, with just enough texture from the fruit to deliver added bursts of flavor. The custom-made blender gives the fruit a light and creamy mouthfeel that melts quickly on the tongue because there are no stabilizers or additives. Flavors include straight banana or watermelon as well as a variety of berry, mango, pineapple and peach blends — and there's a chocolate flavor as well, made with nothing but bananas and cocoa.
In addition to Civic Center Eats, Ba-Nom-a-Nom can be found on Sundays at the Pearl Street Farmers' Market, on Mondays at Prospect Sound Bites in Longmont, at the FoCo Food Truck Alliance in Fort Collins on Tuesday evenings, and at various festival and fairs throughout the summer, including the Hanuman Yoga Festival this weekend.