The Cream Brewery
While walking through the Dufferin Mall yesterday, I saw a white cloud accompanied by a loud swooshing sound at a kisok in the the distance. Huh..whaa..curiosity piqued, I ventured forward.
As I approached the kiosk, I saw a woman furiously stirring a bowl beneath a nozzle of a huge grey tank spewing forth the billowy cloud ....a science experiment?
Nope. It's molecular gastronomy technique meets ice cream kiosk. The Cream Brewery creates frozen treats using liquid nitrogen. Essentially they stock all the base mixtures along with flavourings, mix-in treats and toppings. You mix and match what you want and then they flash freeze it in front of your eyes..and voilà - your own customized frozen treat.
Well, of course I had to try it. They have the following bases:
- Super-premium - 17% milk-fat
- Traditional - 10% milk-fat
- Gelato - 6% milk-fat
- Reduced fat - 5% milk-fat
- Yogurt - 0.5% milk-fat
- Sorbetto - dairy-free
But since it was their first day, they only had the traditional 10% and limited flavours (fully operational by next week). So I tried the chai tea with almonds (upon her recommendation). $3.09 + tax = $3.45 for a small cup portion.
Verdict? Not strong enough chai flavour for my tastes but the process does create a creamy treat. It's not uniform in consistency as she was stirring it by hand (I have seen a hand mixer used with this technque to achieve better results), so there were parts that were firmer and others that were melting slightly.
Would I try it again? Maybe if I wanted to create a specific concoction and it's fun to see it being made. But I wouldn't go out of my way... For more info: www.thecreambrewery.ca
Too bad liquid nitrogen is rather expensive to do this on a daily basis (apparently renting the dewar and buying five to 10 litres of liquid nitrogen runs from $50 to $100, plus deposit) because I would love to do this at home. Actually, this would be fun for a party...hmm...
This is similar to a place at Camden Market in London: www.chinchinlabs.com. There the concept is packaged as a laboratory where a guy who looks like a mad scientist is busy at work.
In London the consistency was fine and the flavours were good but not outstanding. Otherwise my verdict was about the same: interesting, worth trying once but not something I'd go out of my way for.