This winter, drama has made its way from the movies into the ice cream parlour. Watch smoke make way for cool, freezing ice cream in a variety of flavours at iCremoso, the city's first outlet that lets you watch as your ice-cream is flash frozen in front of you. Ready for some cream theatre?
On a Saturday afternoon, iCremeso, an unassuming, 400 square foot ice cream parlour opposite Sterling Cinema in Fort reminds you a little bit of your school Chemistry lab. Here, syringes and smoke form part of the deal as you watch a scoop of Blueberry ice cream being made in front of your eyes in a flurry of smoke and liquid nitrogen. Flash freezing, an American technique of making instant ice cream, has come to town.
A medium size cup of Chocolate hazelnut ice cream
Co-owner Rahul Shah, an engineer and an MBA, started this, his pet project, soon after returning from the US in 2011. He saw the immense popularity and demand of flash frozen ice-cream and yogurt in the US and knew immediately that India would be no different. "iCremeso has several benefits. Since the ice cream is made on the spot, it is easy to customise the product. The quantity of sugar or kind of milk can be regulated for diabetics and others. Our products contain no preservatives and the absence of ice crystals reduces chances of getting a sore throat," he explains.
Theatrics aside, we found that iCremeso isn't drastically different from other brands of ice-cream available in the market and it's hard to tell the difference between their ice creams and yogurt. Having said that, the Raspberry yogurt with Blueberry Campote is a must-have, as is the Biscottini ice cream, a real mildly-sweet treat.
Their prices are competitive -- you can get a small cup (a tiny portion size) for Rs 65, a medium cup for Rs 90 and a large cup that can be shared by two to three people for Rs 140. Another iCremeso outlet has recently opened at Breach Candy and Shah has plans to start five flagship stores in the city within a year.
What is flash freezing?
Flash Freezers are not manufactured in India and have to be imported from abroad. These machines pass inert liquid nitrogen that is safe to consume. The liquid nitrogen lowers the temperature of the ice cream mix (milk and flavour) to -196 Centigrade, which helps prepare instant ice cream.
Begin by choosing the most basic element of your ice-cream -- the milk. The menu offers a choice between regular milk, low fat milk, soy milk and yogurt. Since we were more concerned about pleasing our taste buds than the weighing machine, we decided to go with with Blueberry ice-cream made with regular milk.
The next step is to choose the flavour from iCremeso's elaborate menu. It offers a variety of uncommon flavours such as Biscottini, Peanut Butter and Green Tea, besides the usual Strawberry, Blueberry, Chocolate Hazelnut and Raspberry. A wall in the store has three glass cases illuminated with snazzy blue and green LED lights. The cases exhibit the flavours stored in syringes that you can choose from.
After you zero in on the flavour it is injected into the milk right in front of you and then blended in a flash freezer
Pics/ Bipin Kokate
The blend is then blast-frozen using liquid nitrogen. The procedure may sound time consuming, but it isn't. You can arm yourself with a spoon and prepare to indulge yourself within a minute of placing the order.