Walk into newly opened Creamistry in Clovis and the first thing you see are big billowing white clouds spilling over the counter.
This is no science lab, but an ice cream shop that flash freezes ice cream in front of you with liquid nitrogen at -321 Fahrenheit.
Creamistry – like chemistry, get it? – is a southern California-based franchise that opened its first shop in the San Joaquin Valley Sunday. It’s at 635 W. Herndon Ave. in the Target shopping center at Willow Avenue. It’s right next to dessert spot Nothing Bundt Cakes if you’re feeling especially indulgent.
Creamistry’s grand opening is Saturday, Aug. 20, from noon to 11 p.m. with free ice cream from 3-5 p.m. Be prepared for a big line.
Instead of tubs of pre-made ice cream, ingredients are picked by the customers, starting with four options for the base: Premium, organic, sorbet made from blood orange or other flavors, and a coconut milk option has no dairy, lactose, gluten, soy or egg.
That is blended with flavorings (like Nutella, chocolate or Thai tea) and toppings (like Oreo pieces, cheesecake bites or fresh strawberries).
It’s all mixed together in a big metal bowl. That’s placed under what looks like a big KitchenAid mixer, except for the tube that shoots the liquid nitrogen – which has evaporated into a gas by this point – into the bowl.
That’s when the big clouds of vapor come billowing out. The process makes the ice cream rock hard and it sticks to the bowl, so workers have to dunk the bowl in warm water before they can scoop it out.
But don’t worry, the ice cream is at a normal enough temperature by the time you get it that it won’t burn your tongue. It takes a little longer to prepare a dish of ice cream than at your typical shop, about three to five minutes.
And it’s a little more expensive than a regular dish of ice cream. Expect to pay around $7 or more.
Right about now some of you may be thinking “why on earth” do it this way?
Says franchise owner Dhruv Doshi: “It creates small particles so the ice cream is much, much more creamier.” The ice cream certainly has a different texture – denser and thicker than your typical ice cream.
But of course, for the more cynical among us, it is a gimmick. The clear barrier between the ice cream makers and the line of customers has convenient gaps at the bottom for the gas to spill through into the line of customers (it’s not that cold at this point).
“It’s more of an experience for the kids,” Doshi says.
Creamistry is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and until 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Details: See the Creamistry Clovis Facebook page.