If you can brave the winter cold for a dessert, Nicecream’s unique take on ice cream uses chemistry to create your favorite frozen treat.
In the past few months, the Virginia-based business opened two storefronts in D.C., located at 1787 Columbia Road NW in Adams Morgan and at 1924 8th St. NW in Shaw. The dessert chain prides itself on how its signature ice cream is made. A combination of cream, cane sugar and milk are hit with liquid nitrogen to freeze the dessert in seconds and a gaseous cloud from the mixer reveals some of the lightest ice cream you can sample.
Gil Welsford, the co-founder of Nicecream, said that while the frozen dessert business is known for its novelty production technique, the company also prides itself on the freshness and flavor of its ingredients.
“The reason we started Nicecream is because liquid nitrogen made the best ice cream we ever had,” he said.
Aside from the unique freezing method, the ice cream is simple. It is created from toppings that are made fresh without dyes or extracts. Some ingredients, like the caramel in the caramel pretzel ice cream, are made in-house, while others, like the sweet potatoes in their butterscotch sweet potato pie flavor, are bought fresh from the local farmers market.
If you need to warm up after your scoop, Nicecream has an assortment of espresso beverages ($3.99 to $4.99), including a chai latte or a London fog, a latte made with earl grey tea.
Try one of their five hot chocolate flavors ($4.99) if you’re need of a sweet tooth overload. Their original hot chocolate provides a semi-sweet warmth with dark chocolate notes, while the Nutella variation is a flavor-packed hot chocolate that Welsford said is mostly made of hazelnut spread mixed and heated with milk.
The shop’s ice cream flavor selection rotates each week and switches with seasonal produce. This week, the cinnamon candied walnut and cranberry flavors enticed customers with clusters of fresh ingredients to balance the ice cream’s light composition. Seasonal ice creams for the holidays will be introduced soon, including peppermint ice cream and an eggnog beverage.
Order a small cup with one flavor ($5.49) or two a regular with two ($6.49). You can even split up six different flavors in an ice cream sampler ($12.99) and If you like one flavor enough to take home, they also sell pints ($9.99).
You can also take the experience further with a specialty dessert like the nicecream sandwich ($6.99), a scoop between two locally made cookies, or experiment with the affogato ($6.59), espresso poured over ice cream.
But if you’re looking to dive headfirst into a dessert that satisfies, Nicecream’s brownie sundae ($7.35) places its expert-made ice cream on a perfectly-baked canvas.
Served in a paper tray with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and two cherries on top, the sundae was made with classic spiced vanilla ice cream, which Welsford said was his favorite, along with a decently-sized brownie base about the size of the tray. But there’s hardly time to savor its visual appeal as you rush to take a bite.
The spiced vanilla ice cream is perfectly creamy and is anything but simple. I could have eaten an entire pint of this tasty flavor. Completely white aside from the black vanilla bits inside, the ice cream’s soft taste continues as it lingers on the tongue and its deep freeze means it doesn’t melt away quickly.
Its soft sweetness is a complement to the brownie. The brownie acts as a rich chocolate base with chunks of chocolate inside, baked slightly underdone with hardly a crunch to it. By itself, the velvety chocolate bar would be a perfect snack, but as the vanilla cream seeped into the baked treat, the entire dish’s flavor becomes elevated and balanced. To eat it without a scoop of equal parts brownie and ice cream is sacrilege.
For any lover of classic flavors, face the cold and order Nicecream’s combination of vanilla ice cream paired with a chocolate brownie. To go an unconventional route, you can mix it up with any scoop of Nicecream’s funky flavors.