Calgary’s frozen dessert scene has gotten a bit more interesting in the past few years, with Fiasco Gelato unveiling their new headquarters last month, and froyo chains Tutti Frutti + Menchies popping up all over town. The latest addition to all of this is Nice Cream, an ice cream parlour that opened up near Mount Royal University 3 weeks ago. Normally, I wouldn’t venture to the south end of the city just for ice cream when there’s more convenient options, but Nice Cream is the first in Western Canada to use liquid nitrogen in its creations, which I think we can all agree is pretty.. cool. ?
(Liquid) Nitrogen has a super low boiling point of -196°C, giving it the ability to rapidly cool the ice cream mixture from a liquid state to a frozen one within a short period of time. While this may seem like a fictional idea that originated from this fictional conversation:
Walter: I’m gonna be the Heisenberg of Ice Cream.
Jesse: What about our competition?
Walter: We’ll barium.
The use of liquid nitrogen in a culinary setting isn’t new, and has the advantage of forming fewer ice crystals than the conventional method, resulting in a creamier end product. All orders at Nice Cream are made right in front of you, with the whole process taking about 2-3 minutes as you admire the vapour cloud coming from the mixer. You can watch the whole process below:
We were curious as to how different Nice Cream would really be compared to the normal stuff, and I’m happy to say that it was some of the smoothest, creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had. My companion and I both enjoyed the Maas Chocolate flavour more than the Pekoe Earl Grey, so that’s the official WTF recommendation if we had to make one. That being said, both were great and we found that unlike other ice cream, these didn’t feel heavy at all so you can keep eating and eating. Salted Caramel and Mt. Robson Vanilla are the only other flavours available right now, which is slightly unfortunate if you’re like me and usually prefer going with a fruity option. We were told that a Pineapple Mango flavour, as well as a Coconut one was in the works for the near future.
The prices at Nice Cream are comparable to what you would find at Village or other ice cream shops around town, with a handful of topping choices available for 75 cents each. An interesting option was the Special Bean Powder, which I may have to try next time to satisfy my curiosity.
The interior was simple and open, although I think a more appropriate term would be empty. There’s a U-shaped bench off to the side that’s very similar to the one at Village, except Nice Cream has theirs inside the store and it feels a bit out of place. The rest of the space is unoccupied, and I feel that a couple of tables and chairs would do some tremendous good. Of course, since the store is new, I’m crossing my fingers that this is already in the works and they just haven’t received their furniture yet.
As my first time having nitrogen ice cream, this was a really neat experience and I still can’t get over how smooth that ice cream was. The two gentlemen that helped us were friendly, conversational, and seemed to enjoy running the boutique. While the Nice Cream is already open, they will be having their grand opening kickoff on September 19th, with all orders (including toppings) being 50% off. And since you’re already at it with the science, be sure to check out some Beakerhead events, which is also happening that weekend.
Two thumbs up to the nice team at Nice Cream,
making nitrogen seem like an ice steam!
If they had a Dratini, they could teach it Ice Beam
to make their rapid freezing ice cream!
#4 4604 37 St SW – Calgary, AB
(403) 454-8868 | www.thenicecream.com