Fans of this blog may remember my ice cream phase from 2011. This was a gloriously unhealthy period kicked off by the purchase of an ice cream maker and the cookbook The Perfect Scoop. Readers at the time told me that an ice cream maker would just sit on my shelf and collect dust, but they were wrong. It was put to major use for six months and THEN relegated to the shelf to collect dust. i stopped because I was being way too unhealthy, but oh, the memories from that time are vivid and wondrous. I learned so much over those months. For instance, did you know that ice cream is quite possibly the worst thing you could ever put into your body? Of course you did. Watching the cups of cream, then sugar, then egg yolks go into the batter is nothing short of a shameful experience, but you know, it’s what needs to be done. But I digress.

Back to the learning part. As a one-time ice cream expert, I learned about the freezing process. Sugar content, for instance, is a key component. Too much sugar, and the ice cream will melt almost instantaneously. Too little, and it will be hard and crystalline. (Don’t quote me on that: I could possibly have the sugar situation reversed). Oh, and freezing that ice cream? It’s a whole process. First you have to freeze a special cylinder for at least 24 hours; then you have to chill the ice cream batter overnight, and then, only then can the ice cream churning begin. The point is that making ice cream is a long, unhealthy process (but oh so delicious).

This is where Creamistry, a new Beverly Hills ice cream shop, comes into play. Gone are the vats of batter, quietly chilling in the fridge. Instead, Creamistry offers customizable ice creams from scratch, made in seconds via liquid nitrogen. But is it actually any good? Keep reading to find out…

The storefront in Beverly Hills. On a recent Saturday it was buzzing with people, including one Millennial who spent about thirty minutes dancing by herself and bragging about her Snapchat followers to anyone who would listen.

Ordering your concoction is a multi-tiered affair. Patrons first select a base (ie. Premium cream madness, less premium organic madness, sorbet, or coconut milk). Then it’s on to flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and about thirty more beyond that.

In addition to flavors, there are also toppings, mix-ins, and a whole smorgasbord of calorie bombs to be added to your creation.

Then the magic happens. The ice cream artists (I’ve named them that) put everything into one of these custom machines and then the mixing commences.

Spurts of liquid nitrogen cause clouds to emerge from the stand-mixers. It’s rather dramatic.

Captivated by the cloud.

Soon the entire parlor is filled with foggy goodness.

It’s a big hit with the kids.

My friend Case gets a pre-made combo that involves mint and fudge and perhaps even Oreos. I don’t remember exactly. It’s well-received.

As for me, I go for broke: Nutella ice cream with peanut-butter cups and brownie bits mixed in, topped with fudge, and placed in a waffle bowl.

The final result is very good. The ice cream has a unique texture — almost like a firm soft-serve, if that even makes sense. Or perhaps frozen custard. Either way, it’s a gut-buster (although, that doesn’t stop me from eating every last bite of my concoction). Later, I try a pre-made coffee ice cream thing with just a regular base (not the premium one), and it’s just as rich. This is not for the faint of heart.

And now the downside: my crazy concoction would have cost $10 and change had I not been treated to a media-comped experience. That’s a bit pricey for ice cream. Admittedly, I went a bit HAM with my toppings, etc., but even at its most basic, Creamistry will cost you $6 or $7. Now, the good news is that the servings are very large, even for a small, but those prices could prove to be prohibitive for some.

Nevertheless, I’ve had liquid nitrogen ice creams several times in the past, and I’ve always been left a bit COLD (rimshot!). Creamistry is by far the best i’ve had, and it’s certainly way better than Coldstone (if we want to compare customizable ice cream experiences).

Still not sure if it’s your thing? Well, good news. Creamistry is offering FREE ICE CREAM (woop woop!) in October at certain locations. Check out their website and Twitter for more information.