Interior of Nice Cream, Calgary
Creamy cryogenic creations await you at Calgary's newest and most exciting ice-cream parlour. Watch as your order is made in seconds before your very eyes at Nice Cream, western Canada's first purveyor of liquid nitrogen ice-cream.
The almost instantaneous process that flash freezes the cream base means that ice crystals have little chance to form, so the finish is smoother and the taste creamier on your tongue. It also means there is no need for preservatives in the ice-cream mix, so only natural ingredients may be used. Add to that the thrill of watching the sub-zero vapour spill out over the sides of the bowl, and it's no wonder nitrogen ice-cream has been making a splash in the USA.
Four flavours are available – Mt.Robson Vanilla, Pekoe Earl Grey, Maas Chocolate and Chocolate Caramel – in small, medium and large tubs with a variety of toppings including ginger bread, walnuts and chocolate chips. I tried a scoop of Pekoe Early Grey which cost about CN$4 and was absolutely delicious. The largest size costs CN$7.45 and toppings are 75 cents each.
Making liquid nitrogen ice-cream at Nice Cream, Calgary
Rather unassuming on the outside, Nice Cream is slick and trendy on the inside and there is plenty of space to sit and enjoy your ice-cream and watch the spectacle of ice-cream being made for other customers.
The science behind nitrogen ice-cream is fairly simple. Liquid nitrogen boils at -321°F, which is very cold, so as soon as it is exposed to air it starts to vapourise. When poured on to the ice-cream mix, the liquid nitrogen causes the mix to freeze and the liquid evaporates off. The ice-cream maker usually wears gloves to pour out the liquid nitrogen to protect his hands as the container is extremely cold. Nitrogen is the colourless, odourless substance that makes up about 78% of the air we breathe and is relatively inert.
Located in Sarcee Plaza at 4604 37th Street SW near the corner with 45th avenue, Nice Cream was a little bit tricky to find when I visited as the outlet's permanent signs had not yet been installed, but it is well worth the effort.