Cape Town - What if I told you there is a place where you can create your own personal ice cream flavour and have it served to you within minutes?
At N2Ice Cream Lab the basic “raw” ingredients of milk, cream, sugar, and evaporated milk are put into a blender, the chosen flavours added, and the mixture is blasted with very, very cold – as in -195°C – liquid nitrogen to create a deliciously smooth and creamy cup of sweetness in fewer than two minutes.
Finish it off with a variety of optional toppings and there you have it: a custom-made dessert in your hands.
Because of the science factor, the menu at N2Ice Cream Labs is presented in the style of a periodic table, and the “Brrrr-istas” are dressed in white lab coats, goggles and thick protective gloves as they become enveloped in clouds of dramatic smoke.
This is not all just for show; working with liquid nitrogen does have some inherent dangers although I was slightly unnerved but fascinated when chief scientist Maija Groenewald showed me you can actually dip your hand into it with no lasting side effects. Just don’t keep it there for more than a second. This is known as the Leidenfrost effect, and applies to any liquid in contact with an object significantly hotter than its boiling point. So not only did I get ice cream, but I learnt something too.
The labs offer about 25 flavours to mix and match, with prices ranging from R15 to R35 depending on size. Groenewald, who brought this concept to South Africa, says the chocolate and naartjie blend is popular. There is pina colada – yes, you can add a dash of something alcoholic too, raspberry, coconut, mint, peanut butter, Turkish delight, and many more.
The basic ice creams are available in vanilla, chocolate, or plain, with sugar-free chocolate and vanilla for dieters. Toppings cost R5 and include salted caramel, cookies & fudge, chopped Flake, and toffee sauce, among others.
l Find N2Ice Cream Labs at The Emporium Shopping Centre, (next to Food Lover’s Market), Sandown Road, Parklands (Sunningdale); and The Paddocks, Grand National Boulevard and Race Course Road, Milnerton. Opening hours are Mondays to Fridays 10am till 6pm, Saturdays and Sundays 9.30am till 6.30pm. You’ll also find them at markets and events like the Revolution Food Fair in Tokai on November 29, and at Willowbridge on December 13, as well as various pop-up locations. See www.n2icecreamlab.co.za for more details, mail [email protected] or call 084 516 1818.