Seeking quality with nitrogen
Although warmth is still on its way to windy Copenhagen, after having enjoyed a few sunny days most Copenhageners already start living in a summer mood. We have recently visited an ice-cream shop called ISTID where we met two inspiring ladies. Nina and Anniken infected us not only with their positive attitude but also with their confidence and how they believe in their craft. The two of them patched innovation, quality and their dreams together. We invite you to have a sneak peak at Scandinavia’s best and the only one liquid nitrogen ice-cream bar!
Nina welcomed us with a wide smile and cup of coffee after which we had a chance to witness the magnificent ice-cream making process. “At this moment we made a little office of our shop as it is closed for the winter“. Though it is a small basement level storefront, the coziness is strongly felt. It was hard to believe most of the reconstructions were done by hands of those girls. So we had a chat in one of the hippest streets of Copenhagen.
Nina and Anniken have known each other since university, but they were not really close friends at that time. However, in 2014 when they reunited, both of them realized they were feeling limited in their jobs and decided to create a niche where they could materialize their potential. After graduating from a 3 year education within fields of project management, process management and business development they brought their ideas together. “We started writing everything that came to our minds on a board”. Right before moving from Oslo to Copenhagen Anniken went to San Francisco where she discovered a liquid nitrogen ice-cream chain ‘Smitten Ice-cream’. Neither Anniken or Nina had a background in food, ice cream or nitrogen, but after consideration it seemed an idea worthy to be on the top of their brainstorming list.
They started immediately, “First season was crazy, we basically weren’t really sure what we were doing. We just really wanted to make it happen”. With the help of a Norwegian chef the duo developed a recipe, started exploring ways to manipulate nitrogen and began reaching out to clients all over Denmark. “We were telling them that we make the best ice cream in Denmark. When actually, we hadn’t made anything yet. We knew how to do it and that was about it”. But it worked. ISTID was booked for multiple festivals and markets that very summer, including a two months of pop-up shop at Copenhagen Street Food, where they made ice – cream cocktails on weekends.
After a successful summer and autumn, developing Istid only during weekends and working full-time the rest of the week, Nina and Anniken realized they had to make a bigger step. “We made a goal to get our own place before summer 2015. In January, we quit our office jobs, raised some money to build a kitchen with a Kickstarter campaign, and moved into our shop.”
ISTID is Scandinavia’s very first liquid nitrogen ice-cream concept. These two adventurous women are the first. The nitrogen is not the only thing that makes this ice-cream unique, every single ingredient they use is organic, and no artificial colours or flavors are used. The girls even use vanilla beans for the base that are not often-used in today’s ice-cream making, Nina and Anniken pay the most attention to the smallest details when it comes to taste or texture.
The fascinating aspect is that all of the freezing is done right in front of you with liquid nitrogen that is – 196 degrees cold. Ice-cream that undergoes this process becomes incredibly smooth, as ice-crystals do not have time to formate. Thanks to this technology it is possible to make an ice-cream without any preservatives as it is eaten right away, retaining the real taste.
At this moment the shop is closed because Anniken and Nina are in search of new flavours, working on a new menu and planning to expand their team. It is only going to be their second season but the shop already has customers who would come more than once in a day. “ We are even going to serve our ice-cream at one of regular customer’s weddings.” Anniken laughed.
This team of fun-loving ladies even bought a fire-truck, painted it in bright red and are ready to sell ice-cream all over Copenhagen and beyond the borders of the city. “We learnt a lot and feel much more prepared now.”To a question how they feel about this now and what kind of plans they have for the future, both girl shown no regret and content even without a stable income. “This is what makes life interesting and we truly believe that we can build it bigger”.