Magical: A Sub Zero staff conjures up ice-cream in a cloud of nitrogen mist at Abu Dhabi Mall Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/XPRESS

Abu Dhabi: As the summer hots up, liquid nitrogen ice-creams seem to be the flavour of the season.

An increasingly common sight across the UAE, their makers claim their wow factor lies not just in the way they are prepared but also in the taste.

Based on the molecular gastronomy cooking concept, these ice-creams utilise liquid nitrogen, a clear liquid with a temperature of -320°F, to freeze natural ingredients into ice-cream. Unlike regular ice-creams which take long to prepare in a freezer, these are instant and lack the pesky ice crystals that form when freezing is slower.

Sub-Zero delight

Says Mohanad Hendi of the American brand Sub-Zero: “Liquid nitrogen ice-creams are much creamier and stronger in taste. You will not find the crystals that are in regular ice-cream because they get done in a jiffy. All you can taste is the cream and the flavour. There is no air on the palette which impacts the taste.”

Hendi said Sub Zero, which has two outlets in the capital’s Abu Dhabi Mall and Marina Mall, offers 48 flavours of liquid nitrogen ice-creams. “Our mixed berry, banana and coffee flavours are especially popular.”

The cost? “They range from Dh12 to Dh20 depending on the size,” said Hendi.

There are many parlours in the UAE that sell liquid nitrogen ice-creams. Dubai’s Scoopi Café on Jumeirah Beach Road for instance has just released its summer specials that include tropical fruit, lychee, fresh fig and strawberry ice-cream, all cashing in on the extreme cold of liquid nitrogen, besides natural ingredients.

Café owner Zubin Doshi said Scoopi ice-creams use the finest creams from Denmark, handcrafted Boiron fruit from France and chocolate from Valrhona, among other ingredients. Preservatives and artificial flavours are a definite no-no.

Salman Aga, area manager of Ice-cream Lab in Dubai Mall, also vouches for the freshness of liquid nitrogen ice-creams. “We make these ice-creams right in front of your eyes, using only natural ingredients and an organic base. There are no added sugars or artificial flavours,” he said, adding that the parlour offers eight flavours.

Ice-cream lovers have never had it better. “I just love to watch the ice-cream being made. It adds to the experience,” said one Sub-Zero customer.

“It’s yummie and so creamy,” said another, licking into a fresh banana ice-cream scoop.