Welcome to the chin chin laboratorists, Europe’s only nitro ice-cream parlour. On first glance it looks like a mad scientist’s lab, with figures in white coats at work and clouds of white gas appearing out of nowhere. They are using liquid nitrogen to make delicious creamy ice cream.
There are no freezers full of frozen ice cream on display here, instead there are tanks of nitrogen gas. Each cup of chocolate, vanilla or pina colada (today’s special) is made by hand and individually.
It’s created by the mad City banker turned scientist who wears a white lab. coat and safety goggles and gloves. He puts your chosen flavour of ice cream into the stainless steel KitchenAid mixing bowl. He fills a thermos with liquid nitrogen from the tanks; it is boiling away at -196C. Then he shoots the liquid nitrogen at the bowl.
It’s silly but you have to gasp with glee as the misty cloud rises up from the bowl and the liquid custard turns into solid ice cream in front of your eyes. Inside of 3 or 4 seconds a cup of delicious looking (and tasting) ice cream appears.
The rest is business as usual: choice of sauces (raspberry, blueberry, salted caramel) and lots of different toppings (orange sugar, popping candies, nuts, carmelized peanut brittle).
As for the taste, it is very smooth and creamy. Apparently the speed at which the ice cream freezes doesn’t allow coarse crystals to form. “When you freeze the mixture instantly, you avoid ice crystals so it is a smoother, denser finish on the tongue,” says Akbari-Kalhur, the ice cream maker.
A gimmick? Of course, but also a sincere effort to cut down on the environmental cost.
This post originally appeared on Treehugger.