1. Super-cool ice cream
Steamy-cold liquid nitrogen is becoming an increasingly popular way to fast-freeze made-to-order ice cream. In Houston, Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream & Yogurt added a new location to its growing brand, which markets itself through catering and school presentations on the science behind liquid nitrogen ice cream. And in Spring Valley, Nev., near Las Vegas, soon-to-open Sweetspot Nitrogen Ice Cream & Boba Tea menus a creative flavor list that includes pomegranate, Lucky Charms, birthday cake and more. Toppings have an Asian focus, with choices like mango popping boba, matcha green Kit Kat and rainbow mochi.
2. Asian-inspired frozen treats take off
Concepts featuring desserts with Asian flavors and preparations continue to grow, from Thai rolled ice cream to meal-enders flavored with yuzu, matcha and more. In Berkeley, Calif., new concept Secret Scoop specializes in Thai gelato and sorbet in flavors like black tea, tamarind and lemongrass. Consumers can also add dairy-free green sticky rice to their scoops. Eater reports at least a half-dozen Asian-inspired ice cream concepts are planned for the Las Vegas area this summer, including Flavyours (Thai rolled ice cream and boba) and Bubble Mixology (liquid nitrogen ice cream, bubble waffles and matcha).
3. Off-premise and on ice
Operators cannot deny the importance of delivery on the bottom line, leading them to find ways to get even super-perishable items like ice cream to consumers’ doors. Concepts like Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Ben & Jerry’s and Cold Stone Creamery offer third-party delivery of scoops, sundaes and more at select locations, while Dorchester, Mass.-based Chill on Park delivers a customizable sundae bar, complete with two quarts of ice cream as well as whipped cream and customers’ choice of four candy toppings and one sauce. Artisanal ice cream concept Salt & Straw features a Seasonal Pints Club, which sends five pints to members’ doorsteps each month—packed on dry ice.
4. Artsier scoops
With the growth of Instagrammable menu offerings seemingly unstoppable, Paris-based gelato chain Amorino continues its American expansion. What makes Amorino’s scoops so camera ready? Each one is shaped (by “gelato artists”) to look like a multipetaled rose. The chain is slated to open its second Georgia location (its 16th in the U.S.) in Atlanta this fall.