‘Br­rrr-is­tas’ serve up a sweet storm of pure de­light

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

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.

● 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 popup lo­ca­tions. See www.n2ice­cream lab.co.za for more de­tails, mail maija@n2ice­cream­lab.co.za or call 084 516 1818.

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