Written on 12/05/2009


Liquid cream + Flavorings + Mix ins + Liquid Nitrogen = ice cream???

It’s true. Science has again met up with my favorite frozen treat : ice cream. But this isn’t your typical 31 Flavors parlor. After hearing rave reviews from several friends about the up-and-coming phenomenon that is cryogenically-frozen ice cream, I did some research. Dippin’ Dots , the “Ice Cream of the Future” has been out for over 20 years, but it is flash frozen in Paducah, KY and then shipped out. Turning liquid cream into solid ice cream before your eyes? That intrigued me. I read up on it online and found out there was a cryogenic ice cream shop 15 minutes from my house.

I had passed SubZero Ice Cream on University Parkway a few times, but had never been in an ice cream mood with money concurrently in my pocket. I started following their Twitter profile once I heard that they gave out freebies via tweet. I missed a few of their freebie days, but direct messaged @sub_0_IceCream to see if I could come in another time to try it for my blog. The Provo Towne Center SubZero generously prepared a freebie waffle cup for me to review on Nicole Rates It.

First off, you choose your dairy base: 14% premium, 10% custard, 5% low fat, and 0% yogurt. I decided to try the 10% custard. Next come the flavors, and this is the hard part. So many to choose from, and they’re unlimited! There’s your usual chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry…all the way to the more exotic egg nog, cheesecake, cake batter, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, and Root Beer.

The ice cream artist will take a metal bowl, freeze it with beads of liquid nitrogen, then add the cream base and flavors. Then it goes back to the nitrogen tank for a harder freeze, and then more flavorings and mix-ins are folded in as desired. For my creation, I chose custard base, banana, marshmallow creme, and caramel, with Kit Kat mixed in.

That’s not smoke you see, it’s a chemical reaction before your very eyes!

Within a few short minutes the liquid mixture becomes a solid delectable delight! And not only is the chemical process fun to look at, the showmanship of the employee was pretty darn near Benihana impressive.

The gimmick is quite impressive, but how does it taste? Fan-freaking-tastic! Because the ingredients are flash-frozen so quickly, the ice crystals are extremely small. This allows a much creamier and smooth overall taste and texture. Similar to well-made gelato, but creamier. It was the best frozen rendition I’ve ever had of bananas foster. Each flavor could be tasted distinctly, but the marriage of flavors was sweet indeed. I wasn’t much a fan of the Kit Kat mixed in, as the liquid nitrogen froze the chocolate so hard that it hurt to bite. Next time I go, I’ll skip the candy and go straight for the fruit.

There is abundant media coverage for SubZero. They received the 2008 Utah Best of State Award for Ice Cream, and they are featured in the Utah County Diners Guide. SubZero has two locations in Provo, one in Pleasant Grove, and one in Rexburg, ID.

Popular Mechanics did a feature story on SubZero Ice Cream: Making the Coldest Ice Cream in the World—But is it Any Good?

Nicole Rates It…9/10