Nauti Cow: Liquid nitrogen is a cool addition to your ice cream

Tonya Thomas, center, cools the ice cream with liquid nitrogen while Goncalo Rego, left, and Marjus Hajdari, right, look on.

Nitrogen strikes again. The fast-freezing food craze that gave rise to nitro-brew coffee now has a new face on-Island. Nauti Cow opened recently in Oak Bluffs, serving up ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen.

Traditionally, nitrogen was used for cooling computers and in cryogenics, but bringing food down to -321 degrees quickly opens up a range of possibilities.

This fast freezing — the store times it at around 20 seconds — keeps large ice particles from forming, which makes for a creamier texture.

A Nauti Cow customer can choose their base from choices ranging from yogurt to a traditional ice cream (in a liquid form at this stage). The store also offers vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free options. The next step is to pick a flavor — think chocolate, ginger, coffee, vanilla, and more. “Toss-Ins” such as Oreos, M&Ms, cookie batter, and banana come next. There are no limits to how many you can add, but beware, they’re 75 cents a pop and can add up quickly. Toppings such as whipped cream or caramel sauce finish the creation off.

The base and toss-ins get thrown into a standing mixer attached to a pipe. Upon closer inspection, I saw that what I assumed was white paint on the pipe was a half-inch thick layer of ice.

After suitable mixing, the liquid nitrogen rushes through the pipe and smoke spills out of the bowl as it meets the warm air. It looked like it belonged on a movie set featuring a sorcerer’s cauldron.

After such a dramatic creation, the new ice cream didn’t disappoint. I got Nutella ice cream with cookie dough, Oreos, and whipped cream which totalled $9.75. It feels like a splurge, but Nauti Cow isn’t just a nitrogen fad novelty — it’s really good. If anything, stick to simplicity with the ice cream, the delicious flavors don’t need to be smothered by toss-ins.

The Nutella flavor came through, and if I closed my eyes, the texture reminded me of when I was little and would sneak a jar of the stuff up to my room with a spoon.

If you find yourself beating your way through late summer Oak Bluffs traffic and feel like treating yourself, Nauti Cow is located on 28 Lake Ave, across the street from Nancy’s.

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