A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
An introduction to cryogenic ice-cream making.
Melbourne has seen waves of curious dessert trends that have soared to stratospheric popularity, and either maintained public love or crashed and burned with meteoric ferocity. Cupcakes, macarons, frozen yogurt, caneles, cronuts. Yawn. What’s next? Scientifically-made ice cream it seems. As we wrote some time ago, Australia is neither in want for the hot arid weather that triggers the ice cream craving nor for places that can satisfy such yearning. Australia is however, in dire need of experimentalism when it comes to ice cream flavours. Cue N2 Extreme Gelato and Lab Nitrogen Gelato, two recent arrivals to Melbourne’s ice cream landscape, both of which tinker with liquid nitrogen to make ice cream. What does that mean, you wonder? Genetically modified ice cream?! Ewww, no… thankfully. The use of nitrogen does two great things for consumers. Firstly, liquid nitrogen prevents (or reduces) crystallisation, and therefore allows for a very, very smooth ice cream texture. Secondly, because the nitrogenised ice cream sits at a colder temperature to normal ice cream, the coldness accentuates any flavours once it hits a warm human tongue. In other words, flavour explosion. Win-win, yes? Well, let’s see.
N2 Extreme Gelato
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Sandwiched between shopfronts on gritty, eclectic Brunswick Street, N2 Extreme beckons with a weekly-changing menu of seriously crazy ice cream flavours. You could opt for the rather tempting Banana Caramel, Ribena Longan, Mango, Tim Tam Chocolate, Beer or seasonal delights, such as Matcha & Azuki, Iced Peach Tea, Pineapple Tart, Kopiko with Tapioca Pearls. However, given that you are paying $6-8 for one scoop, why not select an ice cream flavour that you haven’t tried or seen before? The crazier the better at N2 Extreme. Our recommendation: look out for the Creme Brulee, which comprises a beautifully caramelised surface over a velvety, custard-toned ice cream (once with earl grey accents, another time with egg nog). Even better, the Ferrero Reveal, the Ferrero Rocher chocolate metamorphised into one incredible cup — hazelnut, praline, rice puffs, and wait of it….molten chocolate in a syringe! A fellow dessert-lover has demanded we inform you of the Deconstructed Chocolate Lava …again with a chocolate-filled syringe. Absolutely, our kind of (legal) drug, we say. :P
Lab Nitrogen Gelato
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If you need a quick break from city shopping or city working, Lab Nitrogen Gelato is most conveniently located on Bourke Street, and curiously, seems not to have really caught the eye of the Bourke St foot traffic. Pity, because it is quite special. Lab Nitrogen offers rang of ice creams that will appeal to the more traditional and also, the modern ice cream lovers. There have been classical flavours such as raspberry/strawberry, chocolate brownie, vanilla, and also, a few seasonal specials (Salted Popcorn, Gaytime Crunch, Chocolate Lamington). The more exotic flavours are Oriental-inspired, for example, Green Tea with Mochi Balls, Coconut Mango Sago, and Red Bean. Ice cream from Lab Nitrogen is $6 for one scoop. We recommend that you pick a sorbet, which is light and smooth here, and quite flavoursome (the Mango Sorbet, Coconut Flakes and Sago makes for a perfect tropical summer treat especially). The ice creams on the other hand, are not as flavoursome and tend to melt very quickly.