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Liquid nitrogen is used to make fresh ice cream. Courtesy | Maggie Hroncich

There’s a new ice cream craze hap­pening across the world that appeals to dessert fanatics and chem­istry lovers alike: liquid nitrogen cream­eries. Like hand-rolled ice cream shops, part of the appeal of it is in the per­for­mance: upon ordering, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the cream mixture right in front of your eyes. 

These cream­eries have been popping up all over the country, and Hillsdale County is no exception. A few weeks ago, Milkster Creamery opened inside the Bigby Coffee Shop in Jonesville. I had a chance to try the ice cream, and it’s some of the best I’ve ever tasted (and I used to work in an ice cream parlor, so that’s saying some­thing). It melts on your tongue, leaving a sweet and creamy taste without the denseness or bloat typical ice cream can leave behind.

The shop offers a variety of flavors, including chocolate, straw­berry, vanilla, caramel, banana, cookie dough, and cookies & cream. There are also sea­sonal spe­cials such as pumpkin. Cus­tomers can dec­orate their ice cream with an assortment of top­pings as well, such as whipped cream, sauces, sprinkles, and chocolate chips. A large cup costs just over $4, but on Wednesdays there is a $3 special, and coupons can be found on Kroger receipts. 

After I tasted several of the flavors, the dis­trict manager explained to me why the ice cream is so much creamier than most — it has to do with the chemical process of how it is made. Seeing the cream freeze reminded me of a science fair. The liquid nitrogen is ‑196 degrees Fahrenheit — so cold that direct contact with it would cause severe cold burns. The nitrogen causes water and fat par­ticles to stay small, resulting in a creamier texture as the ice cream freezes rapidly. The secret behind its taste is no secret at all: it’s science. 

If good ice cream isn’t enough of a reason to visit, each pur­chase sup­ports a good cause: giving water to the Pokot people in Western Kenya. Milkster calls this goal #Cup­forCup and according to their website, “With your help, for every cup of ice cream we sell, we’ll donate a cup of water by digging wells for the Pokot people.” 

It’s exciting that even though we may live in a more rural area, we have a trendy ice cream option just a few miles away.