Cashew Cow Dessert Parlor will serve six flavors including vanilla orange cream when it opens today at 11:30. 

Tucson will be introduced to the area's first ever ice cream parlor that uses cashews instead of dairy in its ice creams.

Owner Jennifer Newman said she starts with raw cashews and turns them into a milk that's used as the base for the six rotating flavors of ice cream at Cashew Cow Dessert Parlor. The restaurant, at 16 S. Eastbourne Ave. in Broadway Village, opens today.

"Cashews have a very mild flavor in terms of nuts so it's easier to mask that with flavorings. It's a pretty neutral base in general," she said.

Her ice cream, made in-house, substitutes a natural emulsifier for eggs and is prepared just as you would traditional dairy ice cream in a batch freezer that whips it around until it's frozen.

"You're going to be surprised that it's not dairy in terms of the consistency and flavors," said Newman, who spent 11 years of her childhood in Tucson and moved back here three years ago. "The consistency is really rich and creamy and I would put it up there with Häagen-Dazs."

Cashew Cow was at least a year in the making, time spent working out the base formula, creating flavors and dealing with all the codes, licenses and other legal hurdles involved with opening a business.

"It's exciting to finally take the paper off the windows and serve this treat to everyone," Newman said last Friday as she was putting the final touches on Monday's opening.

As of Friday, she had not set the prices, but she said they will likely be competitive to Tucson area specialty ice cream shops.

Newman planned to open with coffee, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, vanilla orange cream and either a mint chip or chocolate chip — or both, she said.

Cashew Cow is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.