Semi-Hidden Treasures

One thing that I am setting out to do in this trip is to share interesting people and places that I encounter along the way. Eventually I hope to create a special page just for these profiles, but how that will ultimately shape up is to be determined. That said,  I do already have a first candidate for my project.


Naturally, what most piques my interest is anything involving food. On my first full day in London I was fortunate enough to encounter The Chin Chin Laboratories in Camden Lock Market. They are “Europe’s first ever liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour.”


Their trick is simple: mix a cream base with liquid nitrogen, thus creating ice cream. What’s unique about it is that the nitrogen is so cold that it super freezes the base, leaving no time for ice crystals to form. It also evaporates, leaving just a very dense version of the original cream.


I happened upon the shop while exploring the markets in the Camden Town area. They’re loud and active, filled with odd trinkets, vintage clothes and food from around the world. Through the colorful displays of Ethiopian, Thai and Jamaican foods, a strategic chalkboard placed on the cobblestones caught my eye. Although the abundance of other cuisines all tempted me, a new way to try ice cream will always win me over. Plus, they had coffee, an extra draw on a jet-lagged caffeine addict.


After an agonizing three minutes of indecision I ultimately ordered an interesting version of a mocha, which was two shots of espresso mixed into hot chocolate. The drink was almost too rich to finish, but the flavors were too exciting to quit. I even felt compelled to order vanilla ice cream to counter the weight of the mocha. The Laboratory’s base and technique, however, make even a term associated with blandness immensely flavorful.


What’s more, the “Laboratorists,” as their Facebook page refers to them, are delightful people that are more than happy to explain the ice cream process or just to chat, if it’s not too busy. Even if you aren’t hungry, check out the nitrogen clouds as they create their masterpieces.


Really, every part of it is awesome

If you’re in London, be sure to check them out. Maybe even make a trip to the city specifically for this pleasure.

Check them out here.

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