When it comes to ice cream, I’m something of a traditionalist.
At least, I used to be. A couple weeks ago I’d have told you the perfect ice cream had to be hand-churned on a farm while the cows looked on approvingly.
But now? I have tasted the future. And the future is delicious.
Nicecream Factory is located in Arlington VA, right outside of Washington DC. There’s no churning involved in the Nicecream process – instead, they flash freeze their ice cream using liquid nitrogen, as you watch.
The store is small and brightly colored, with most of the space inside being taken up by the ‘kitchen’ area, where they have a counter and six ordinary-looking stand mixers. These are where the flavors are added to the ice cream base – so the nutella ice cream, for example, is nutella added to milk, cream, and sugar, mixed together and frozen on the spot. (Because of this, there are only a few flavors available each day – but that’s just an excuse to go back often.)
These stand mixers are also where the ingredients are frozen, in a cloud of what is either liquid nitrogen or magic. Nicecream claims liquid nitrogen, but I’m not willing to bet there isn’t sorcery involved somewhere.
For my first try, I chose nutella and dark chocolate sea salt. The nutella . . . I have to be honest here. That ice cream made me stop for a minute and attempt to process the pure wonder of the universe. I was almost afraid to try the dark chocolate sea salt – and when I did, I’m fairly sure I temporarily stopped breathing. This is the closest ice cream has ever come to being a life-changing experience.
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