Dairy King

New York's ice cream wunderkind is no Mister Softee

New York went food-truck crazy this summer (really, one Belgian waffle truck franchise wasn't enough?). And when it did, 24-year-old Ben Van Leeuwen became the antidote to jingle-propagandist Mister Softee, the city's new emperor of ice cream.

Summers spent working on Good Humor ice trucks taught him the ropes—and convinced him he could do better. Van Leeuwen converted a retired postal truck into a custard-colored parlor on wheels and developed 10 handmade flavors using local, hormone-free milk and painstakingly sourced ingredients: Bronte pistachios from Sicily, hazelnuts from Piedmont, and chocolate from the Maybach of cocoa: Michel Cluizel. This superlative chocolate is also the base for Van Leeuwen's luscious hot-fudge sauce (recipe follows).

Ice cream snobs know that butterfat is the key to that rich, perfectly smooth texture. Van Leeuwen's topples the scales at 18 percent; the best you'll find at the grocery store maxes out at 15 percent—that is, until he begins selling his pints (soon!) at Whole Foods, Dean & DeLuca and Murray's Cheese. Just one more reason to scream.

Van Leeuwen ice cream trucks will operate through Oct. 31. For times and locations, visit vanleeuwenicecream.com.

Van Leeuwen's Hot Fudge Sauce

1 stick unsalted butter

1½ cups granulated sugar

4 ounces Michel Cluizel 99% chocolate (or other high-cacao chocolate)

½ cup Michel Cluizel cocoa powder (or other alkaline-free cocoa powder)

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Stir in the sugar. Add the chocolate and cocoa powder and stir until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cream and vanilla extract. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to use.